Deborah Poynton
Cape Town, South Africa
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Poynton starts by photographing her subjects: people she knows and with whom she feels a particular affinity, so that she is able to use them in her paintings to convey states of being. The people, on their own or in relationship to each other, challenge our engagement as they look out at us, looking in. Highly defined spaces, detailed with furniture, drapery and accumulations of objects, form around the often naked subjects. 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.

Deborah Poynton was born in Durban, South Africa. She studied at the Rhode Island School of Design before returning to South Africa to paint. Her subject matter in the latest show is a series of large canvases that feature larger-than-life portraits of nude and clothed figures. There are elements of still life throughout her paintings as well. The images bring the emotional state of the human condition into the viewer’s face with the sometimes-severe nature of facial expressions and the quite vividly alive, and large eyes making contact with the audience.

place & year of birth
1970 in Durban, South Africa

featured galleries

1987 - 1989
Rhode Island School of Design

solo exhibitions
Everything Matters, Pei Ling Chan Gallery, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA
Everyhting Matters, ACA Gallery, Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta, GA

The Grip of Cirumstance, Warren Siebrits Modern and Contemporary, Johannesburg, SA

Safety and Security, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, SA

group exhibitions
Von Liebeslust und Lebenslast, Corvey Castle near Höxter, Germany

Summer 2008/09: Projects, Michael Stevenson, Cape Town, SA

Residency with Mikael Andersen, Denmark

Finalist, Tatham Art Gallery National Portrait Competition, Cape Town