Penelope Stutterheime, Hearth XIV, Oil on canvas, 130x125 cm, FAC2276

Jun 9 – Jul 8, 2023


9 June - 8 July 2023


Everard Read London presents an exhibition of new oil paintings by South African artist, Penelope Stutterheime.

Stutterheime describes Hearth as "the inner fire that resides in us; the fire of purpose and meaning, the source of sustenance to see one through difficult times - a window that offers light and hope."

This collection of new work captures the essence of Stutterheime’s long-standing preoccupation with depicting inner landscapes. Drawing inspiration from dreams and the unconscious, her layered and textured paintings use impasto and a masterful facility with colour to create her hypnotic, abstract works.

The artist responds intuitively to her surroundings and events in her life, seeking to convey a state of mind rather than any particular reality. She describes pouring herself, her emotions and feelings, through rather than into a work. The process seems to be deeply cathartic, with the act of repeatedly applying oil paint to the canvas, serving as a meditative process for subconsciously working through emotions. Only once completed does the artist have some sense of what the work embodies.

“The work reveals a slow unfolding, of finding my voice, my dance, my melody,” says Stutterheime. “It is nourished by intense feeling and emotion contained on a white canvas, to be felt, to be experienced, to be read from the place where no words yet lie. The texture and essence of my work comes from layering - layers of paint and layers of consciousness. This is a critical part of my process of distillation and getting closer to the nature of what a particular work is going to be. The painting manifests my process - a dialogue of application and response; a play of intention and being willed by the brush.”

Stutterheime’s is an organic practice, steeped in the desire to both control and simultaneously release. Edges and boundaries ebb and flow on the canvas through both intuitive responses and painstaking application of layers. On the one hand, Stutterheime finds herself letting go of “preconceived thoughts of what must happen” and thus takes “a risk for a conclusion”. But equally, there is an active pushing by the artist of the materiality of the oil paint, “forcing and continuing, until something emerges”.

For Stutterheime, the dance between colour and shape is ultimately a desire to find “resolution of form and sensation”. Referring to the experiential quality of the paintings, Stutterheime’s intention is to lead herself and the viewer to the possibility of consciously moving through different states and into the present moment.

In this new body of work, the active negotiation of process, testing boundaries and the limitations of paint itself is evident. The works - bright, exuberant and lyrically colourful, as well as paler works in softer hues - epitomise this journey, the heavy layering of surfaces, restraining of colour and a diffusion of frequency.

This is Stutterheime’s third solo presentation with Everard Read London.


For more information, please contact:, +44 (0)207 590 9991


Images courtesy of Mike Hall.