Michael Stevenson is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by Penny Siopis.
In this exhibition Siopis continues her longstanding interest in the tension between form and formlessness, figure and ground. Her new body of work draws on the idea of 'the multitude'. One potent source is Elias Canetti's Crowds and Power (1960), where Canetti's swarms, masses, fires, rivers, seas, forests stimulate Siopis to reimagine the relation between the individual and the multitude, between the particular and the mass. As before, her medium and process of working are as much conceptual as they are the means to create an image; be it ink and glue paintings, or the 8mm home movie footage she uses to compose her video. Siopis writes:
Much of the sense and sensation I work with in my painting and video is embedded in the material and chance-driven making process itself; what floats, falls, fractures and fixes, forcing form to the edge of formlessness. I am fascinated by the strangeness, openness and vitality of this choreography of chance and control, which offers extraordinary scope for new ways of associating and imagining.
While Siopis references historical catastrophes in her paintings - the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima is one - her interest lies less in pictorial depiction than in visual analogies suggested by process and medium.
Her new video imagines the mob murder of a Dominican nun in the 1950s during the Defiance Campaign in the Eastern Cape through multiple processes of textual narrative, sound and imagery culled from widely disparate home movies.
Siopis was born in 1953 in Vryburg, and lives and works in Cape Town. She is an Honorary Professor at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. Recent solo exhibitions include Furies at Brodie/Stevenson, Johannesburg (2010); Red: The iconography of colour in the work of Penny Siopis at the KZNSA Gallery, Durban (2009); Paintings and Lasso at Michael Stevenson, Cape Town (2009 and 2007); and Three Essays on Shame at the Freud Museum, London (2005). Group shows include Space, Ritual, Absence: The liminal in South African visual art, FADA Gallery, University of Johannesburg (2011); the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010); Peekaboo: Current South Africa, Tennis Palace Art Museum, Helsinki (2010); This is Our Time, Michael Stevenson, Cape Town (2010); Wild is the Wind, Savannah College of Art and Design, Gutstein Gallery, Savannah, Georgia, USA (2010); and Black Womanhood: Images, Icons and Ideologies of the African Body, Hood Museum, New Hampshire, travelling to the Davis Museum, Wellesley, Massachusetts, and the San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego.
The exhibition opens on Thursday 14 April, from 6 to 8pm.
Siopis will give a walkabout of her exhibition for the Friends of the National Gallery on Friday 15 April at 11am; cost is R20 (members and non-members).
The gallery is open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, and Saturday from 10am to 1pm.
© 2011 Michael Stevenson. All rights reserved.