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© 2011 Evan Penny / Courtesy Sperone Westwater, New York. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas.

Old Self: Portrait of the Artist as He Will (Not) Be. Variation #2

Artist: Evan Penny (Canadian, born 1953)
Date: 2010
33 7/8 x 29 7/8 x 23 1/4 in. (86 x 75.9 x 59.1 cm)
Medium: Silicone, pigment, hair, fabric, and aluminum
Credit Line: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2011.11
On View
Accession Number: 2011.11
Provenanceto (Sperone Westwater, New York, NY); purchased by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, 2011
Label TextLarger than life-sized and hauntingly realistic, Evan Penny’s self portrait marries traditional sculpting processes with cutting edge technology. Using a 3-D scanner, Penny made digital scans of his body, created clay forms based on the scans, and then he manipulated these clay forms by hand. He cast the clay version in resin before adding pigment and other elements- such as his own hair- to the sculpture’s silicone surface.
In this work, Penny attempts to transform the fleeting moment captured by photography into three dimensions. The artist suggests that we imagine ourselves through the lens of photography, even though we live our lives in three-dimensional space. Drawing on his experience as a special-effects artist for Hollywood films, he reimagines himself as an elderly man. By making himself look decades older, he created a self-portrait that manages to be both realistic and make-believe.