Vice & Virtue Opening in Toronto

Brooklyn Artist Jeremy Penn Heads North to Unveil His Latest Painting Series

About The Show:

From an early age, we are trained to recognize bad behaviour. Distinguishing sin is ingrained in our psyche from our parents, teachers, and friends. For years, Jeremy has queried the human response to sex through his artwork as we believe that sex is a taboo, something to be practiced only behind closed doors. The act of sex, if not for reproductive purposes, is seen as unholy, carnal and inherently bad. The female form is often misperceived as something shameful based simply on presentation or adorning specific clothing. When did sex, and in particular the sexual female form, become inherently sinful?

Of course, the notion that women should behave modestly and be sexually submissive has explicit roots in Religion. The story of steadfast Adam and lascivious Eve teaches many children from a young age that nudity is shameful, and that experimentation and desire to gain power is sinful. In the 21st century, contradictions towards sex are everywhere. We are confronted with endless images of scantily clad women, but women are shamed when mimicking these representations, for the sake of their modesty. Sex is shown frequently on TV, in movies, in songs, in art; yet teenagers find it difficult to discuss with their parents. Adverts frequently entice us by using overtly sexual references, yet we don’t dare to attract one another through the same process.

In Vice & Virtue Jeremy chose to blend modernity with pervading sexual attitudes. He has deliberately referenced the bold, brash colors of graffiti – as it’s so often on our street corners and alleyways that we find truth in art; unashamed representations of sex and sin. The viewer is not only confronted with a deliberately thought-provoking word, they’re forced to see themselves as part of the image, through their reflection in the piece itself. They’re forced to acknowledge their own role within the contemporary sexual sphere. After all, each and every person that views these images is part of the society that inspired them. They’re an integral part of the art itself. Upon viewing, examine not only the art itself, but also your response to it. It may reveal more about your own attitudes to sexuality than you realize.

About The Artist:New York-based modern artist, Jeremy Penn was born in 1979 in New York City and studied Fine Art at both the University of Maryland and Pratt Institute. His works have been exhibited internationally and received honors from curators at museums such as The Museum of Modern Art, New York and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Penn's work is prized within some of the most prestigious modern art collections in the world. In 2014, Refinery29 referred to Penn as an "Andy Warhol x Richard Phillips Hybrid."