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Deborah Poynton

  • 11 July till 3 October 2021
  • Drents Museum

Beyond Belief

From 11 July to 3 October 2021, the monumental paintings by South African artist Deborah Poynton (Durban, 1970) can be seen in the Abbey Church (Abdijkerk) of the Drents Museum. The beauty of her paintings has a great appeal and gives the viewer the feeling of entering a new world. The artworks are painted with great attention to the smallest detail. In the exhibition Deborah Poynton - Beyond Belief, the Drents Museum presents her most recent work (2008-2020). It is Poynton's first museum exhibition in Europe.

The perception of reality is central in Deborah Poynton's paintings. She paints pieces of the world she sees around her on large canvasses. She combines figures, objects and elements from nature into a new reality. In doing this she makes use of a particular light or places figures together in a space, so that it seems as if there is a story behind the painting. She abstains from making any judgment, wanting to use her works to make the viewer aware that everyone perceives the world in their own way and that there is no right or wrong.

Beyond Belief
Poynton draws inspiration from her own, private world. She works with only a few models, from her personal environment, and uses objects she finds at home or during a walk. Poynton has made the painting Beyond Belief (2019-2020) especially for this exhibition, and it can be seen for the first time in Assen. Beyond Belief resembles a reredos, a work of art that stands behind the altar in a church. It contains many references to classical religious paintings, yet it is immediately clear that this work is not religious. The figures are painted humanly and the collection of objects seems to have been chosen at random.

Online opening
The exhibition will be opened online on Saturday 10 July at 5 p.m. (only in Dutch). Karlijn de Jong, curator of the exhibition, will take the viewer through the exhibition. During the tour, De Jong will talk to general director Harry Tupan and the artist herself. Visitors will also tell their personal story at one of the works of art.

Your story
Viewing Poynton's work is a personal experience. The story that comes to your mind is different from that of someone else. There is no right or wrong. All ideas and associations are welcome in the world of Deborah Poynton.

Artist Talk
On the opening day of the Beyond Belief exhibition, Deborah Poynton will be present in the Drents Museum. On Sunday 11 July at 2.30 pm, Laura Korvinus of De Kunstmeisjes will talk to the artist and Poynton will explain, among other things, how she works when making metres high canvasses, clarify her statement 'my work is nothing' and answer questions from the public. The talk will be in English. 

Introduction in Europe
Despite the exceptional quality, this is the first exhibition in Europe devoted to her work. The Drents Museum fulfills a pioneering role by introducing Poynton's artworks to the Netherlands. The works connect well with the extensive collection of contemporary realism in the Drents Museum.

Deborah Poynton
Deborah Poynton was born in South Africa and spent her childhood in Great Britain, Swaziland and the United States. She studied at the Rhode Island School of Design for two years. At the age of nineteen she returned to South Africa, where she started painting full-time in Cape Town. Poynton is hardly known in the Netherlands. The Drents Museum wants to change this and shows paintings that she has made during the past ten years.