Back of Kelly, 2005
silicone, pigment, hair, fabric, aluminum
33 x 24.5 x 6 in / 84 x 62 x 15 cm
Evan Penny (born 1953, in South Africa), currently lives and works in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In 1978 Penny graduated from Alberta College of Art and Design and received a post-graduate degree in sculpture. Evan Penny makes sculptures of human forms out of silicone, pigment, hair and aluminium. His pieces range from the almost precisely lifelike, to the blurred or stretched. Penny says one of his interests "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." Though his creations are lifelike, Penny believes that "the real can't be represented or symbolized," leaving everything to be a representation.
Back of Evan
This Evan Penny sculpture is an excellent example of "hyper-realism." Truthfully, not all hyper-realist sculptures are equally "real." Some might look convincing in reproductions, but they don't stand up as well in person -- especially on close inspection. When looking, in person, at this particular sculpture by Penny, the illusion doesn't fail. Very unsettling! What I didn't photograph though was the sculpture from the side where the perspective collapses -- that is even MORE unsettling. Penny created a series of hyper-real sculptures of the backs of individuals. These sculptures continue the domain of neither fully two-dimensional nor three-dimensional forms in Penny’s work. There are no faces on the sculptures however the shoulders, neck and back of the head are meticulously rendered. Back of Evan is a piece completed in 2005 of a bald man facing slightly to the right. This sculpture is so carefully crafted that one can see the folds in the man’s neck.