Robyn Penn is primarily a painter who also draws and prints. Her work is represented in collections in multiple countries. Penn has assisted prominent South African artists in a curatorial capacity, in commissions and consulting. In 2005 she was a finalist in the ABSA Atelier and Sasol New Signatures Art Competition. In 2009 she had her first solo exhibition at the Brodie/Stevenson Gallery, Johannesburg. Her art has been shown at the Joburg Art Fair in both 2014 and 2015, and at the Cape Town Art Fair in 2016.
Penn is interested in natural processes of transformation and dissolution, and has carried out intensive and highly detailed studies examining rapidly-changing sea waters and cloud formations, amongst others. Her work both captures and resists the inherent transience of these natural phenomena.
Penn’s series of knitting works show knitting in various stages of unravelling, which alludes to, and finds confluence with, the act of her father’s car tinkering activities carried out when she was a child. Her father’s tinkering and fixing, clicking and clanging along the way, represents an activity that is “as much enjoyed for the process as for the reward of achieving a specific purpose” . Penn began “to knit for the sake of the activity of knitting, and without plan or purpose she would knit and unravel, knit and undo. Gradually, her father’s tinkering and her knitting became reconciled and the clicking of her plastic needles became an echo across time of the clanging of her father’s wrenches and greasy spanners.” [courtesy David Krut website]
Exhibitions, Awards & Collections
Awards and Fellowships
2012 Ampersand Fellowship, New York
2005 Finalist, ABSA L’Atelier competition, South Africa
2003 Finalist, Sasol New Signatures competition, South Africa
2002 Finalist, Sasol New Signatures competition, South Africa
1998 Bickerton-Widdowson Trust Memorial scholarship, New Zealand
2014 Postcard Show, Art First Projects, London
2013 Echo, David Krut Projects, Johannesburg
2012 Exit, David Krut Projects, Johannesbug
2011 Pretty World, David Krut Projects, Johannesburg
2009 The Brutal Year, Brodie/Stevenson Gallery, Johannesburg