Sean Penlington


Mr. C, 2010, oil on canvas,  60 x 60 x 5 cm.

Fools Feast, 2011, oil on canvas,  60 x 60 x 6 cm.

Comedy Inferno, 2010, oil on canvas,  120 x 120 x 5 cm

Dead Arm, 2011, oil on canvas,  120 x 120 x 6 cm.

Stacks, 2010, oil on canvas,  60 x 60 x 5 cm. 

The Dance, 2010, oil on canvas,  70 x 55 x 5 cm.

May Pile, 2010, oil on canvas,  55 x 70 x 5 cm.

Night Talk, 2011, oil on canvas,  90 x 90 x 6 cm. 

About The Artist

The starting point to my work has come out of an interest of carnival and ritual in early modern Europe. The three main aspects of carnival are; meat, sex and violence. These attributes are always present in my work in some form. The elaborate characters and tales associated with carnival lend way to quite amazing imagery, masks in particular are a frequent occurrence in my work. The mask was used to mimic or mock members of the community, it was also used as a security mechanism to allow the inner most thoughts and desires to be exercised without feeling inhibited. Almost everything which happens in carnival has an allegorical meaning. Meat was not only massively consumed, it was also used as a symbol, bawdy jokes linked the sausage with sex, and animals were executed in rituals linking the food with sex and violence. The phallus was a popular symbol and was represented with many objects, including a prominent long nose attached to masks. Popular imagery of the time essentially used stereotypes as allegories. The use of allegories has allowed me to paint in a kind of short hand fashion, just as in carnival itself, one image can allude to other meanings. Traditionally carnival has always been represented as a fat, jolly man usually drunk and holding meat or animals. This has become a recurring motif in my painting and is an updated form from Battle between Carnival and Lent by Bruegel. The surface of the painting has increasingly become important to my work. Sensitivity to how a form is painted allows not only a certain believability, but also creates a visual sensation. The visual sensation is the painted thing; it must register as a sensation first, and then be understood as an object. The other way around would leave it as an illustration of an object. Im after the subjective but the deliberate. The later work of Philip Guston has been important to me. Not only are they allegories themselves, but the paintings are honest and introspective, which I feel is key to good painting.

Sean Penlington Via Saatchi Online