FERNANDA MERLINO PENNINGTON

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 FERNANDA MERLINO PENNINGTON - BIOGRAPHY

fernandaI have been drawing and painting since 1998, when I moved from Brazil – where I was born - to England, where I still live. I am now based in Chichester, West Sussex, and I would say that the views of the countryside and its animals, landscapes and green fields have been inspiring my bright, organic and colourful paintings.

Fascinated by the expressive drawings and the narratives in Frida Kahlo’s diary, the texture of skin and unusual colours in Lucien Freud’s portraits, the expression of the organic in Helen Chadwick’s photographs, the sense of isolation and powerful darkness in Tacita Dean’s films and other artists’ work, I fell in love with the smell and the texture of paint and went to study Art & Design at Central Saint Martins, which was my first real encounter with art. After completing the course at Saint Martins in June 1998, I began building a portfolio, which I took to Kensington & Chelsea College for a one year BTEC Foundation in Art & Design.  When I was nearly finishing the Foundation in 1999, I got an unconditional offer at Chelsea College of Art & Design for a degree of Bachelor of Arts. After intensive theory and practice at Chelsea, I finally graduated in 2005. Two years later, I decided to start a PGCE in Art & Design at Goldsmiths College, as I had been teaching Art for many consecutive years and needed a professional qualification. I finished my PGCE in 2008.

My art is my voice. I paint what I feel, and how I feel, as an instinct. I enjoy the challenge of trying to capture the definition of an object in my landscapes and collages using charcoal, oil pastel crayons, acrylic and oil paint, then deconstructing the accuracy of that object to create a new meaning, focusing on the abstraction of lines, shapes and tint. I admire the beauty and the density of different textures; therefore I explore different media apart from paint, such as dense layers of gesso, PVA glue, sand, etc.

I have taken part in numerous solo and collective exhibitions across England, Brazil and Ireland. My last exhibition was a wonderful group show called ‘Somos Todos Vulneráveis’ (We Are All Vulnerable) in August 2014 with some Brazilian and Irish artists, including Elizabeth Cope, who also painted my portrait in May 2014. The show was at Shankill Castle during the prestigious Kilkenny Arts Festival in Ireland, including painting, poetry, film, sculpture and installation at the castle, garden and stable yard. We all counted with the presence of the Brazilian Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Afonso Cardoso for the private view.

I also have been preparing my paint brushes, spatulas and canvases for an upcoming solo exhibition at John Rank Gallery in December 2016, which will feature a new collection of dense textured mixed-media, figurative and abstract paintings based on imaginary landscapes and bright collages on canvas. The gallery in based on the Oxmarket Centre of Arts, situated in the heart of Chichester. The body of work represents festivals, marriage, flowers, love, animals, journeys, imaginary and magical places, happy dreams, nature, union, different cultures overlapping in two worlds together (England & Brazil), celebrations, joy, family, bright seasons, birth and rebirth.

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