Artwork by Evan Penny,  Torso (Jim)
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Cowley Abbott
326 Dundas St West
Toronto ON M5T 1G5
Ph. 1(416)479-9703

Evan Penny
Torso (Jim)

bronze
signed, dated 1985 and numbered 3/3 at the lower area of the right leg
40 x 25 x 23 ins ( 101.6 x 63.5 x 58.4 cms ) ( excluding pedestal measurement )

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Provenance:
Private Collection, Toronto
Literature:
Nancy Tousley, ‘Absolutely Unreal: The Sculpture and Photography of Evan Penny’, in “Evan Penny: Absolutely Unreal”, Museum London, Ontario, 2004, pages 49-51
Gary Michael Dault, ‘Human, all too human’, “The Globe and Mail”, November 3, 2001, page V2
Ed. Daniel J. Schreiber, “Evan Penny, Re Figured”, Koln, Germany, 2011, pages 19-20 and 27
In 1985, Jim Cottringer, a friend of Evan Penny, modelled for a series of works. Near life-size resin castings and bronze works were produced in Jim’s likeness through a meticulous free-modelling of wax-based, non-drying clay including “Torso (Jim)”. Through this rendering process, Evan Penny joins a legion of traditional statuary sculptors, dating back to ancient Greek artists. For Penny, his art history begins with ancient Greece as “history is an undeniable point of reference, another has always been a relationship to temporal bodily experience.” Furthering on this relationship between past histories and present perceptions, Penny continues:

“If I distil my interest down to a simple idea it’s that I’m always trying to place the sculptures in a perceptual space between the way we feel and experience ourselves and each other physically, in real time and space, and how we see and experience ourselves or the other in an image, ideally, give you both experiences simultaneously. You’re never not an image. But you’re also always in your body.” Moreover, the free-rendering of the model rather than meticulous indexing through live casting offered the artist the opportunity to imbue the sculpture itself with “consciousness, with thought, with clarity and particularity. That’s where the content is.”

“Torso (Jim)” exudes a relic and mythological quality in the rendering of the figure. The jagged edges of bronze where the figures head and left arm would continue, coupled with the intentional crack line crevasses at the waist signal an ancient treasure damaged in conflict. There is a staged historical weight to the work, deliberately executed by the artist to bring attention to this tension between past histories and present perceptions. The right arm having been clad in skin-toned pigments blends into the bronze material of the figure’s chest, as if transcending through space and time and coming to life, the viewer bearing witness to this extraordinary event. Pointing gracefully away, the figure honours classical works, such as “The Discobolus of Myron” (circa 460 BCE), Michelangelo’s Renaissance marble masterpiece, “David” (circa 1501) and Donatello’s bronze rendering of “David” (circa 1430). Jim’s pointed finger creates tension as it pulls away from the leaning torso, a mechanism used by classical artists. The tension created with the body acts as a visual cue to the metaphor they represent, communicating the deeper meaning behind the work’s existence.

In dialogue with curator Daniel Schreiber, Penny recounts on his personal moment of connection with art and his desire to translate this in his practice: “There was a remarkable moment for me recently in Rome. A greek bronze, the ‘Terme Boxer’, the seated boxer...I was transfixed. I could not get close enough and I could not pull myself away. The thought that something like that could speak so powerfully over time and even in its degraded state - because the state it is in now is nothing like how it was conceived to be - was really quite stunning.” This transcendental quality is captured in the artist’s own “Torso (Jim)”, transfixing the viewer with its contemporary classical form.
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Preview this item at:

Cowley Abbott
326 Dundas St West
Toronto ON M5T 1G5
Ph. 1(416)479-9703


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Evan Penny
(1953)