by Ladun Ogidan
Deborah Poynton’s Scenes of A Romantic Nature at Stevenson Gallery revolves around 21 large canvases and two series of corresponding drawings. The works on display reiterate her assertion that “Art is an offering, a show that mirrors the show we form around ourselves as we move through our scenery. Art is always artful, a ruse, a trick. It is part of the dream that we inhabit.”
The exhibition runs from February 12 to March 20 as a continuation of Poynton’s investigation into 17th to 19th Century European painting with particular focus on the works of German Romantic landscape painter Caspar David Friedrich.
In the painting series Scenes of a Romantic Nature, Poynton’s signature scenes constructed with elements cut from the world around us—flora and fauna, man-made objects, people and natural environments – are saturated with colour and detail; these canvases function as pictures to be looked at, or scenes for observation, rather than worlds to be entered.
In the series of drawings Scenes of a Romantic Nature, Poynton focuses on landscapes, natural scenes and close-ups of figures, building up the surface with a meticulous attention to detail, but with a deep sense of the subject’s unfathomable distance. In the Proposition drawings, her lines lie scattered across the paper as if detached from any origin in the real world.
Deborah Poynton was born in 1970 in Durban, and lives and works in Cape Town. She travelled and worked in Europe and Africa later settling in Dorset where she developed her artistic skill, as well as staging her first exhibition. Poynton has always enjoyed drawing and painting from a very young age and earned several prizes as a teenager. Arising from the desire to be a creative artist, she enrolled at night school where, under the patient tutelage of Sam Rabin, she learned how to criticise one’s own work constructively. She later studied at the Rhode Island School of Design from 1987 to 1989. 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 also had a solo exhibition 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.
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