Penny Goring is an artist working across mediums. Her work engages with themes such as 'death, grief, addiction, anger, fear, powerlessness, aging'(1) and deals with her past and relationships, as the same objects and images return over and over again: penis-like stumps, conical hat, cuddly ball, trees, red pointy slippers and willowy brunettes who double as Penny and Amelia, an old lover who is now dead(2).
Goring's career has been punctuated by long periods of invisibility as she was preoccupied with surviving financially, recovering from an abusive relationship and raising her daughter alone. But she never ceased to make art, on the margins, with materials and techniques that she could easily work with from her home, like collage and sewing; her first exhibition at a commercial gallery occurred recently in November 2016 at Arcadia Missa.
Although Goring's life and persona are central to her work, her practice is never fully autobiographical: the emotions and feelings conveyed are a calculated effect, the result of the artist’s skilled use of materials, language and concepts(3).
While Goring’s artworks come to terms with past traumas and violent characters in her life, they also convey a broader reflection on systemic violence, and in particular, patriarchal violence. As Giulia Smith puts it, ‘they also encapsulate feelings of helplessness and despair triggered by the experience of living a precarious existence as a woman artist, a single mother and a mentally non-normative individual, surviving in a world organised around neoliberal priorities’(4).
(1) Penny Goring interviewed by Sarah Roselle Kahn, ‘Tower Block 55: A Poem by Penny Goring’, i-D (10 June 2017)
(2) ‘Meeting Penny Goring’, Giulia Smith, Arcadia Missa Publications, 2018
(3) ‘Meeting Penny Goring’, Giulia Smith, Arcadia Missa Publications, 2018
(4) ‘Meeting Penny Goring’, Giulia Smith, Arcadia Missa Publications, 2018