Stevenson: Cape Town gallery is currently showcasing Deborah Poynton’s eighth solo exhibition, ‘Picnic’, until October 8.
In this series of paintings and drawings, Poynton imagines the picnic as a metaphorical entry point for exploring concepts of pleasure, containment and freedom. These verdant scenes in secluded settings oscillate between hyperrealism and abstraction, underpainting and the unpainted;exposing the logic of their making and pointing to the illusory nature of the painted image.
“I have painted this series of ‘picnic paintings’ because I like the idea that both picnics and paintings are fantasies about pleasure,” says Poynton.
“A picnic can be a metaphor for a perfect, imaginary place where beauty and pleasure abound. A painting is the same; a self-conscious framework, a way of being contained, while also tasting a bit of freedom,” adds the artist.
Poynton’s work agitates paradoxes between real and unreal, the pictorial and the perceived. This series brings focus to the acts of looking and being, positing the image as an intermediary between consciousness and emotion. The paintings and drawings are cast in an incomplete language, without pretence to any fully realised “meaning”. As such, ‘Picnic’ sets forth to reveal both the possibilities and limitations inherent in images, and the complexities of their perception.
“Paintings are not really free. You might paint a picture to try to express a sense of wonder, as a response to being alive. But in trying to paint it, you inevitably domesticate it. It’s a way of consuming the unconsumable, controlling the uncontrollable. But if you imagine going outside, odd sticks, flowers, trees and grasses surround you. You could become more aware of parts of your body. You could become another object on the blanket, to consume or be consumed, and know that you exist. You could be quiet for a moment, and contemplate the idea of pleasure, if not the pleasure itself,” concludes Poynton.
Gallery hours: Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 5pm; Saturdays, 10am to 1pm
For more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.stevenson.info.
Find the Stevenson gallery at Buchanan Building, 160 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock.