Penny Goring

born 1962

Penny Goring has been producing artworks since the 1980s, but for decades she has remained outside of the gallery system. In her paintings she does not shy away from tackling difficult, intimate topics focussing on personal experiences such as mourning for her deceased friends, violent relationships, or economic instability. Goring, however, nuances the notion of trauma by including both autobiographical and fictional elements in her work. Her paintings balance on the edge of reality and symbolism, referencing the subconscious and both the Gothic and girlish imaginaries (pastel colours, flowers, soft forms). Although in the figurative sphere Goring sometimes reaches for what is close to camp, women's domestic labour, sentimentality, and childishness, her works leave the viewer suspended between aesthetic pleasure and anxiety. An example of this mechanism is a series of images in the style of a gloomy fairy tale, depicting a semi-fictional figure of Amelia — partaking in violent situations; she is both Goring’s alter ego and former lover. The sculpture ‘Shock-A-Lolly-Dolly’ depicts a body of a Charleston dancer in an ambiguous, distorted pose. The sculpture is made out of a dress that the artist wore in the 1980s as the participant of the club scene.

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