Deborah Poynton: Fool’s Gold

Deborah Poynton: Fool's Gold - Omenka Online

Deborah Poynton was scheduled to have a survey show at the Drents Museum in Assen, the Netherlands – an institution with a focus on contemporary realist painting – from May to September 2020, which has been postponed to 18 April to 5 September 2021. Curated by Karlijn de Jong, the exhibition looks at just over a decade of work through approximately 50 paintings. Stevenson is pleased to present a group of recent small paintings titled Fool’s Gold.

In the artist’s words:

‘I think of these small paintings like toy treasure chests. The golden contents might only be costume jewellery and chocolate money, but it doesn’t matter. It looks real, and we can indulge in make-believe. Most images could seem foolish, or profound, depending on how you look at them.

We chart our way with images: I am this, you like that, they went there. Flying these little flags of self, we signal to each other from our lifeboats, thirsty for love, hungry to be seen, exhausted, up and down the swells. Perhaps in being seen, we imagine we can ward off death, which hides in the dark waters beneath us.

All I can think is this: it’s ok to take comfort in images. The millions of fleeting smiles are achingly vulnerable. We might as well enjoy the play of light in the sky, or in a painting. We shouldn’t be ashamed of sweetness. Our only genuine luxury is time, and we don’t have much.’

Poynton was born in 1970 in Durban and lives in Cape Town. A survey of 25 years of her painting, titled Model for a World, showed at The New Church Museum, Cape Town, in mid-2014. She has held ten solo exhibitions at Stevenson, most recently Memory of What Never Was in Cape Town (2019) and, prior to this, The Human Abstract in Johannesburg (2018). She showed at the KZNSA Gallery, Durban, in 2010, and held her first US solo exhibitions at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s galleries in Savannah and Atlanta in 2009. You, Me, There, Here, a solo exhibition of works by the artist was shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art Indian Ocean in Mauritius in 2018, and a survey exhibition on Poynton will be presented at the Drents Museum – which has a particular focus on contemporary realism – in Assen, the Netherlands, in 2021.

Herd, 2020, oil on board, 25 x 35cm

Group exhibitions include Tamawuj, the 13th Sharjah Biennial (2017); Der Feine Riss: Zeitgenössische Malerei auf dem Historischen Feld (The Subtle Rift: Contemporary Painting in the Historical Frame) at Haus am Lützowplatz, Berlin (2016); Home Truths: Domestic Interiors from South African Collections at the Iziko South African National Gallery (2016); I Love You Sugar Kane, Institute of Contemporary Art Indian Ocean, Port Louis, Mauritius (2016); Eros and Thanatos, SOR Rusche Collection, Oelde/Berlin (2012); Von Liebeslust und Lebenslast – der inszenierte Alltagat, Corvey Castle, near Höxter, Germany (2009); and What lies beneath, Galerie Mikael Andersen, Copenhagen (2006). 

Two monographs have been published on her paintings: Everything Matters (SCAD/Stevenson, 2009) and Pictures (Stevenson, 2013).

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