Evan Penny - Reviews & Essays

reviews and essays

Artist Statement:
L. Faux and No One - In Particular

by Evan Penny

While in Barcelona in 1998, I had the pleasure of vewing an exhibition Artificial: Figuracions Contemporanies at the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona. The exhibition featured the works of prominent contemporary artists engaged in issues of 'artifice' and the representation of the 'real.' I was drawn to the relationship between the works of two artists in particular: Thomas Ruff represented by six large scale photographic portraits and, on an opposing wall, two sculptural portrait heads of similar scale by Stefan Hablutzel. What struck me was that each project had the unexpected momentary effect of collapsing the authenticating mechanisms of the other - that is - the necessary suspension of disbelief within each project was challenged by the other. The photograph's illusion of life was diminished by the 'thereness' of the sculptures while the sculptures in turn loomed literally too large, giving way for the mediated space of the photograph to reaffirm itself.

It occurred to me that between the give and take of these two projects lay tremendously interesting territory and I decided to make the exploration of that territory the focus of my next project. To this end I have developed a series of sculptures and photographs that examine the terrain between the 'real' and the 'replica.' The first of these works L. Faux (2000) based on a portrait of a real individual Libby Faux, is a large wall mounted sculpture executed in forced perspective. The 3-D variations as with L. Faux: Tri-X (2001) contain features normally associated with the conventions of 2-D photo imaging: black and white, colour, multiple exposure. These sculptural works are in turn re-presented as photographs. A subsequent project , the No One - In Particular series continues these explorations with composite portraits of ficticious characters.

My interest is to situate the sculptures perceptually between the way we might see each other in real time and space and the way we imagine our equivalent in a photographic representation. The intention is that the work be seen in a context where the sculptural and photographic images, mirroring each other, subtly shift, confound, and inform anticipated readings.

Evan Penny, April 2003