20 September - 20 October 2007
Michael Stevenson is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Penny Siopis, one of South Africa's most highly regarded and influential artists with a career spanning 30 years.
In March/April 2007, Siopis showed her Feral Fables series at Michael Stevenson as part of the group exhibition Afterlife. Her new exhibition, which includes paintings, drawings and film (as digital projection), continues some of the concerns of these works, giving even more powerful expression to the world of the emotions and the realm of the imagination.
Siopis articulates this world through a strongly associative combination of imagery, sound and narrative. Using oil paint, liquid ink washes and viscous glue, Siopis also stresses the associative qualities of her medium, which is as important for conveying feeling as imagery or narrative. In this body of work, what the artist calls 'the poetics of vulnerability' - a feature characterising her oeuvre to date - is particularly strongly felt.
A 'lasso' is commonly understood as a rope to capture things, usually animals. It takes skill to handle. It speaks of entrapment. A lasso can also be a noose, with equally menacing associations. But a lasso can offer something more protective. It can be a rope to rescue someone or something from harm – from being stranded or drowning. In a completely different vein, in digital media a ‘lasso’ is a tool, a computer icon, to capture images to create new forms. These double-edged meanings of ‘lasso’ stimulate the way I try to figure vulnerability both as painful and as a potentially transformative experience – it is often only through the effects of our own vulnerability that we recognise the vulnerability of others.
Siopis was born in Vryburg in 1953 and is based in Johannesburg, where she is Associate Professor in Fine Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand. She has an MFA from Rhodes University, Grahamstown (1976). She has exhibited widely both in South Africa and internationally, but has not held a solo exhibition in Cape Town since 1984 when she showed alongside Peter Schütz at Gallery International.
Siopis' work can be seen on Bound, an exhibition exploring slavery at Tate Liverpool, UK (9 August to 20 October 2007), and on Apartheid: The South African Mirror, curated by Pep Subiros for the Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona (opening 26 September) and travelling to the Foundation Bancaja in Valencia in 2008.
Solo exhibitions in recent years include Three Essays on Shame at the Freud Museum, London (2005); Passions and Panics, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg (2005); Shame, Kappatos Gallery, Athens (2003); The Archive, Tropen Museum, Amsterdam (2002); and Sympathetic Magic, Wits Art Galleries, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (2002).
Recent group exhibitions include Cape '07 in Cape Town; Lift Off Part I, Goodman Gallery Cape (2007); Migrations, Belfast Exposed, Belfast (2006); Heimat als Idee/Homeland as Idea, Basis Gallery, Frankfurt (2006); Second to None, Iziko South African National Gallery (2006); Out of Place, FLACC Centrum voor Kunsten en Kultuur, Genk, Belgium (2005); and Etchings, International Print Centre, New York (2005).
The exhibition will open on Thursday 20 September from 6 to 8pm.
Siopis will conduct a walkabout of her exhibition on Friday 21 September at 11am. Cost is R30 and proceeds will go to the Friends of the South African National Gallery. Book with Donne on 021 421 2575.
For more information contact +27 (0)21 421 2575 or fax +27 (0)21 421 2578 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2007 Michael Stevenson. All rights reserved.