Robyn Denny | ARTIST PROFILE
ARTIST STATEMENT AND BIO
I am interested in the patterns of interaction and behaviour that permeate humanity. The last 400 years of recent Southern African history – with European ships first rounding the Cape of Good Hope – initiated a heightened, accelerated time of cross continental reach, colonisation and transformation (much of it profoundly exploitative). The global migration of people in the modern era, often through slavery, irrevocably altered the world and the people inhabiting it. Along with the boons of technology and cross-cultural exchange, powerful systems of hegemonic domination and economic suppression persist today.
And they persist in ways that embody us now, even if we tend to be desensitised. Unfolding beauty and cruelty permeates us. We are fragmented by it, even as we seek wholeness.
My canvases attempt to capture these fragments. I am asking how we are implicated in a historical unfolding, and how we might be transforming it.
I work with images that have a deep guttural resonance. Images that move me out of my head into my feeling centre. From this space, the pieces evolve… tracking an energetic process of embodied becoming through difficult inner landscapes.
Robyn Denny, born in South Africa in 1972, is a painter and video artist. Denny majored in painting at Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town, then attained a Master of Fine Arts from Goldsmiths College in London, where she graduated primarily in video art. After graduation Denny co-curated JUNCTURE in London and Cape Town, the critically renowned group show, and created her own video-installation for it – Earth, Air, Fire, Water. A solo exhibition of large black works, INK PAINTINGS Underground at The Hudson, marked the artist’s return to painting, currently her primary medium.
In 2015, Robyn Denny co-directed with Mamela Nyamza a multi-panel film projection of the collaboration Hatched 2015, creating a proscenium arch effect, a filmic backdrop for Nyamza’s live performance. Hatched 2015 was then selected as a video piece at LOOP Art Fair, Barcelona. In Madrid, Slowtrack, Marta Moriarty’s Gallery, reincorporated this live performance. Yet it was the integration into the space of Denny’s paintings that completed the series.
Denny’s INDIGO – Passage to Healing paintings were selected for AKAA Art Fair Paris 2017; this was, again, a collaboration, with a performance by Nyamza that heightened the experience.