Deborah Poynton’s Everything Matters follows the artist’s first solo show in the United States last year at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s galleries in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia, and a solo exhibition at Michael Stevenson in Cape Town also in 2009. The exhibition at the KZNSA will comprise large-scale paintings from her Everything Matters series as well as her new series entitled Arcadia.
In the Everything Matters paintings, Poynton creates highly defined spaces, detailed with furniture, drapery and accumulations of objects in which she placed her subjects. Her subjects, whether on their own or in relationship to each other, challenge our engagement as they look out at us, looking in. Every element in her compositions contributes to an overall tautness that amplifies the emotional ambiguity and power of the scenes depicted. At the same time, her spare use of realism avoids the seductions of surface itself, to focus on what is communicated. Poynton writes:
"I see my realism as a thin veil, literally a thin painted skin over the nothingness behind everything. We try to defend ourselves from this void. We fill our lives with stuff, talk, distraction. We exert power over others to try to feel less powerless. My paintings are full of stuff but they do not feel particularly secure. I will face you with nakedness to communicate a longing and a terror of connection. This is why realism is the only thing I want to do, because it seems so close. It is beautiful, sumptuous and a complete illusion. It is utterly unavailable. You can’t get in there. It is having and wanting at the same time. "
For the first time Poynton will also be showing two landscapes from her new cycle of ten large paintings entitled Arcadia.
A monograph accompanying the exhibition, co-published by SCAD and Michael Stevenson, features a selection of her paintings from 1998 to 2008. These reveal a distillation over time of Poynton’s approach and concerns, culminating in her most recent large-scale canvases.