João Penalva is a Portuguese artist who has been living in the UK since studying at Chelsea School of Art in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Making art is his second career – in his first he was a dancer, working with Pina Bausch and Gerhard Bohner. His work betrays this history - it is primarily about storytelling through the partnership of images and elaborate often beguiling narratives. Penalva is known for making large-scale installations in various media, as well as more intimate works with video and slide projections, sound, drawing, painting and found materials. Through these media he addresses narrative modes and the relationships between images, text, language and sound. His storytelling is often fractured, presenting juxtaposed narrative elements, allowing the viewer a latitude of freedom in their interpretation.
Simon Lee Gallery is proud to announce a solo exhibition by the London-based Portuguese artist, João Penalva. For his first solo exhibition in New York since 2002, Penalva presents two new series of work based on photographs taken at the São Carlos National Theater, in Lisbon, Portugal, that explore the physical mechanics of theatrical fictions and illusions.
Following a career in dance, João Penalva began his second career as an artist in 1976, working initially as a painter. Today, Penalva is known for making large-scale installations in various media, as well as more intimate works that combine painting, photography, video and found objects, image, text and sound; addressing narrative modes and the relationships between each medium. His storytelling is often fractured, presenting juxtaposed narrative elements, allowing the viewer a latitude of freedom in their interpretation.
En Plein Air
Simon Lee Gallery, London, is pleased to present En Plein Air, bringing together works by artists who seek to reinterpret the artistic tradition of painting outdoors for a contemporary audience. The plein air approach has been prevalent since the mid-19th century, although it gained traction in the 1860s as a practice essential to the development of the Impressionist movement. While artists had long painted from observation to create preparatory sketches or studies, during this period the plein air method led to a naturalistic style that threw out the academic rulebook in the pursuit of formal and compositional spontaneity. The artists included in En Plein Air are united by a desire to refresh the audience’s interpretation of outdoor painting, whether via landscapes or portraits, photography or painting, figuration or abstraction, and in this way, the exhibition explores scenes of the outdoors in relation to contemporary studio practice.
Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present ‘Faux Amis’, a group exhibition that centres on the dialogue between the work of gallery artists and their chosen ‘false friend’.
For this, the first exhibition to cover both the ground and the new first floor spaces of the London gallery, Simon Lee Gallery artists are invited to exhibit alongside, and in dialogue with, the work of an artist of their choice which they find forges a relevant, interesting, distracting, misleading, or stimulating relationship with their own practice. The resultant selection of works not only highlights the interesting discourses that can exist between artists of divergent practices and generations, but also suggests new readings of the individual works on display.
João Penalva The Prize Song
João Penalva, Simon Lee Gallery, New York
15 January - 29 February 2020