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Art Gallery of Ontario Brings Evan Penny’s Hyper-Realistic
Sculptures Home in Evan Penny: Re Figured

Penny’s first solo exhibition at the AGO opens September 20

(TORONTO – Aug 8, 2012) The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) welcomes internationally renowned Toronto-based sculptor Evan Penny home with a large solo exhibition opening Sept. 20, 2012. Evan Penny: Re Figured will feature over 25 of Penny’s larger-than-life sculptures, each painstakingly crafted from layers of pigmented silicone, human hair, fabric and resin. Blending abstraction and figuration, Penny’s hyper-realistic sculptures straddle the line between object and image, presenting the human form both as it is and as it can be when imagined through the distorting lens of photography and digital media.

Filling the fourth floor of the AGO’s Vivian and David Campbell Centre for Contemporary Art, Evan Penny: Re Figured shows the artist’s evolution over the past decade, highlighting in equal measure his technical skill and fresh thinking. Accessible, often familiar and sometime vaguely monstrous, his works engage audiences, young and old alike, on various levels.

Curated by Daniel J. Schreiber of Germany’s prestigious Kunsthalle Tübingen, the exhibition includes notable works from various series including Anamorph, No One In Particular and L. Faux among others. Also featured will be one of the most popular works in the AGO collection, Stretch #1 (2003), which features a face whose natural proportions have been elongated.

“Evan’s strikingly original sculptures have essentially created a genre” said Matthew Teitelbaum, director and CEO of the AGO. “Born in South Africa and raised in Canada, his work has been shown across the world for years, and it is with delight that we welcome him home with his first solo exhibition at the AGO.”

In addition to his massive sculptures, the exhibition provides a glimpse of Penny’s engagement with other media, including photography, offset printing and 3D scanning. A former special effects expert whose film credits include Oliver Stone’s film JFK, Penny’s grasp of these media — and his ability to use them interchangeably — is evident in the precision and imagination of his works.

“Evan’s artistry is a powerful yet playful display of human emotion and expression,” said Nancy Campbell, AGO curator of record for Evan Penny: Re Figured. “His signature techniques, often presented in portrait busts with skewed proportions or unusual colour schemes, are perfectly showcased in the works presented here.”

In 2011 the AGO celebrated the opening of the Weston Family Learning Centre with the installation of numerous plaster models created by Evan Penny as part of his working process. The Gallery invites all visitors to have a unique hands-on experience with these models in the Weston Family Learning Centre.

The AGO is the last stop for Evan Penny: Re Figured following exhibitions at Germany's Kunsthalle Tübingen, the Museum der Moderne Salzburg in Austria, and Italy’s Museo delle Arti Cantanzaro. The exhibition runs until Jan. 6, 2013.

A 176-page catalogue has been published to accompany the exhibition. Edited by Daniel J. Schreiber, with an essay by David Moos and texts by Alberto Fiz, David Moos, Daniel J. Schreiber and Veit Ziegelmaier, Evan Penny: Re Figured is available at shopAGO.

This exhibition is organized by the Kunsthalle Tübingen, Germany in association with the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Events and highlights for Evan Penny: Re Figured include:

Wednesday, Sept. 19; 10 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
AGO members enjoy free admission to Evan Penny: Re Figured and are invited to attend a special members-only preview of the exhibition. Visit for more information.

Mondays, Oct.15 - Dec.17; 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Tuesdays, Oct. 9 – Dec. 11; 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Individual Drop-In Sessions $15 | 10 weeks $140
Develop your life-drawing skills while working with a live model in the surroundings of the AGO’s 4th floor contemporary galleries. Be inspired by the hyper-realistic sculptures of Toronto artist Evan Penny, whose works are currently on view. All sessions will be facilitated by an artist-instructor who will be on hand to offer advice and assistance. Visit for more information on how to register today.

Wednesdays, Nov. 13 – Dec. 12; 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Instructor: Kelley Aitkin
Members $200 | Public $240
In this course, students will learn a comprehensive set of drawing skills with emphasis on the figure in the gallery setting. Working inside AGO exhibitions including Frida and Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting and Evan Penny: Re Figured, students will focus on composition, the rendering of humans in the architectural spaces, and objects and figures in relation to one another. Visit for more information on how to register today.

Mondays Oct. 15 – Dec. 17; 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Wednesdays Oct. 10 – Dec.19; 7p.m. – 10 p.m.
Instructor: Christy Langer
Members: $465 | Public $544 (Most materials are covered in the price of this course.)
In this course, students will focus on sculpting the human form. They will develop skills of observation and proportion, while working with a live model closely guided by instruction. An accomplished sculptor, instructor Christy Langer, will draw on her experience as a studio assistant for Evan Penny and discuss his process and works. Visit for more information on how to register today.

Generously supported by Enbridge and David & Kristin Ferguson.

The AGO acknowledges the generous support of its Signature Partners:

American Express, Signature Partner of the Conservation Program; and
Aeroplan, Signature Partner of the Photography Collection Program.

Contemporary programming at the AGO is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Kenneth Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit to find out more about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy tickets or memberships.

May 1–Aug. 26, 2012: Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris

Oct. 20, 2012–Jan. 20, 2013: Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting

March 16–June 16, 2013: Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners. 


Media Contacts:

Andrea-Jo Wilson
Art Gallery of Ontario
(416) 979-6660 x 403

Melissa Prince
Veritas Communications
(416) 482-2669



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