Evan Penny : Ask Your Body

Curated by Michael Short
Chiesa di San Samuele, Venice, Italy
May 10, 2017 – Nov 26, 2017

TrépanierBaer is delighted to announce Evan Penny : Ask Your Body, an exhibition of new and recent sculptures by the esteemed international artist Evan Penny, which will be presented at Chiesa di San Samuele during the 57th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia 2017. The exhibition is supported by the Art Gallery of Alberta and the Curia Patriarcale di Venezia.

The sculptures in the exhibition are firmly rooted in the artist’s longstanding interest in the human body and how viewers perceive their relationship with themselves and others. While the artist has expanded his sculptural repertoire by openly referencing art from other eras, Evan Penny: Ask Your Body primarily emphasizes the visceral manner with which viewers experience the works. The sculptures presented in Evan Penny : Ask Your Body, several of which are monumentally scaled, can be described as meditations on the many conditions of being human: aspiring to be god-like and failing (Marsyas); the body subjected to the sacrifices and indignities of life on earth (Homage to Holbein); having one’s body regarded as fragmented and dislocated (Hanging Torso and Self Portrait after Géricault’s Fragments Anatomiques); and creating empathy through the imagined history of the artist’s life, as represented by a fictional period from the past (Young Self) and from the future (Old Self).

Chiesa di San Samuele, located next to Palazzo Grassi on the Grand Canal, has been selected as the venue for the exhibition. Built in circa 1000, the church has long held a cultural and historical significance in the area. Titian was known to have maintained a studio in the area near San Samuele when he painted The Punishment of Marsyas (c.1570-76).

The 122-page exhibition catalogue published by Skira Editore, with 80 colour images, texts (in English and French) by don. Gianmatteo Caputo, Robert Enright, Dr. Alexander Nagel, and Michael Short, will be available on May 10.

Evan Penny was born in South Africa in 1953, and immigrated to Canada in 1962. In 1975 he graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design, Calgary with an Honours Fine Art Diploma. Two years later, he returned to the Alberta College of Art and Design and completed Post-Graduate studies in sculpture. From his earliest sculptural busts in the 1970s through to his first nude sculptures in the early 1980s, Penny has devoted himself to an examination of how the concepts of sculptural realism have been influenced by classicism, romanticism, and – most importantly for the artist – by the advent of traditional and digital photography.

Recent international exhibitions include: a touring 12-year survey titled Evan Penny RE FIGURED (Kunsthalle Tübingen, Germany; Museum Der Moderne, Salzburg Austria; MARCA, Cantanzaro, Italy; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto); a touring group exhibition titled RESHAPED REALITY- 50 Years of Hyperrealistic Sculpture (Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Spain; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey, Mexico; ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, Denmark; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia; Kunsthal Rotterdam, The Netherlands); and HUMAN SCALE at the National Gallery of Canada in 2016. Evan Penny’s work will be presented in a forthcoming group exhibition titled THE LOOKING GLASS, opening at the Art Gallery of Alberta, Canada in March of 2017.