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Richard Penn



Type of book work: Unique / sculptural book-object (one-of-a-kind)
Dimensions: Various
Media: Printed covers and Mixed media

Artist's / designer's statements

Stonewater is a collaboration between SA artist, Richard Penn, and UK writer Guinevere Glasfurd, and takes as its starting point a shared interest in 'origins'. Both the artist and the writer have been looking back along scales of human memory and experience and beyond, toward the beginning of time and the origin of our universe itself. This new work required them to consider their separate journeys - all that brought them to the point of collaboration at Nirox.

Moving between memories of a childhood in North Yorkshire and the present day setting of the veld in the Cradle of Humankind, Guinevere's text overlays two landscapes - a remembered one: the North Yorkshire moors and its limestone caves and pavements, and a newly experienced one: the ancient dolomitic limestone strata and caves, visible on the veld and at Plovers' Lake, at Nirox. The drawings explore Richard's interest in questions that arise from depicting the very large and very small and combine near and far, autobiographical and the imagined.

The work takes the form of a 'conversation' between text and drawing over twenty-four days, and was produced during a residency at Nirox in August 2013. They agreed to a single rule - for each to produce a piece of work a day. The work is in two books, one of which begins with a drawing and the other with a piece of writing. The books were swapped daily, so that drawing responded to text and text to drawing and so on. The work that emerged was a continual surprise. The work can be read chronologically: drawing, text, drawing, text; or, can follow separately either drawing or text through or between the books.

Stonewater was produced with funding from Arts Council England and the British Council, Artists' International Development Fund, and was supported in South Africa by the generosity of the Nirox Arts Foundation.

The artists would like to thank Arts Council England, the British Council, Benji Liebmann and all the staff at Nirox Arts Foundation for their support.

The work is dedicated to Duncan Glasfurd (killed 15th August, 1969).



2009 MAFA University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Select Awards

1997 Third Place PPC Young Concrete Sculptor Award
2004 Overall Winner Sasol New Signatures Art Competition
2006 Merit Award Winner Everard Read Art Prize
2014 Ampersand Fellowship

Select Exhibitions

2009 Solo exhibition Origin at the Wits Substation Gallery, Johannesburg
2010 Solo exhibition '...and to that sea return' at Gallery AOP, Johannesburg
2012 Solo exhibition Horizon at Gallery AOP, Johannesburg
2013 Solo exhibition Cradle at Blank Projects, Cape Town
2015 Solo exhibition Surface Detail at The Origins Centre Museum, Johannesburg


Various National, educational and international collections

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