PENELOPE STUTTERHEIME: Mapping
Apr 3 – Apr 26, 2019
PENELOPE STUTTERHEIME | MAPPING | 3 – 26 APRIL 2019
EVERARD READ CIRCA CAPE TOWN
Everard Read Cape Town is pleased to present Mapping – an exhibition of new artworks by Penelope Stutterheime. This is the artist’s first large solo exhibition in the CIRCA Cape Town gallery space, and the culmination of 14 months of painting in her studio.
Cited as a combination of abstract and esoteric forms, Stutterheime’s paintings serve as metaphors for the transformative processes which unfold in the human body and psyche.
Stutterheime’s is a deeply organic practice, steeped in the desire to both control and simultaneously release. Edges and boundaries ebb and flow on the canvas through both intuitive responses and painstaking application of physical layers. On the one hand, Stutterheime finds herself letting go of ‘preconceived thoughts of what must happen’ and thus takes ‘risk for a conclusion’. But equally, there is an active pushing by the artist of the materiality of the oil paint, ‘forcing and continuing, until something emerges’.
Within Mapping, one can see that there is an active negotiation of process, testing boundaries and the limitations of paint itself. The inclusion of multiple pale almost-monochromatic works epitomises this journey – the heavy building up of surfaces, stifling of colour and a diffusion of frequency. There is of course a nod to the strong history of monochrome here; one could specifically cite Jasper Johns’s White Flag (1955).
There are however two distinct grouping within this body of works, the second being a set of bright and exuberant, lyrically colourful paintings. Strong with evidence of brushstrokes and layers, the artist makes use of the impasto application of oil paint. Stutterheime here presents a textured fluid subject matter that has evolved through landscape, and the occasional still life. Nicolas de Staël in particular, with his abstract landscapes of the mid-1950s, influences the artist in her daily practice.
Between colour and shape there is ultimately a dance which for Stutterheime is a desire to find ‘resolution of form and sensation’. The artist conveys these as 'collective moments and consciousness'. Referring to the experiential quality of the paintings, the intention is to lead both the artist and viewer to the possibility of consciously moving through different states and into the present moment, as it unfolds. As Stutterheime explains:
‘They have their own languages and ways they will choose to shape the canvas, often I have very little control…in fact I think I prefer it that way’.
The exhibition will run until the 26th April.
 White Flag is an encaustic painting by the American artist Jasper Johns. Created in 1955, soon after his first flag painting, entitled simply Flag, it was the first painting by Johns to be acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, bought from the artist in 1998. Johns's selection of the US flag allows him to explore a familiar two-dimensional object, with its simple internal geometric structure and a complex symbolic meaning. The built-up collage distorts the flags flatness, while the off-white encaustic obliterates the flag's usual red-white-and-blue colouring, leaving a ghostly embalmed remnant. Johns's Neo-Dada work anticipates aspects of pop art, minimal art, and conceptual art.
Opening night event 18:30 Wednesday 3rd April