Penelope Boyd

Penelope Boyd (b. 1982) is a realist painter from Canberra, Australia. Adopting many of the traditional painting techniques of the Old Masters, she borrows from the vast catalogue of pre-industrial western art, particularly portraiture and depictions of the sublime, to create works that are both beautiful and unsettling.

In her latest series, masked female characters occupy vast, theatrical landscapes, familiar but detached from any particular place or time. Boyd’s youthful heroines are engaged with these wild, dreamlike settings, unlike the often one-dimensional depictions of women in art history. Their identities and intentions are deliberately obscured and known only to their animal companions.

Drawing on ideas of landscape as a pathway to the sublime, these vast, untamed settings present a perilous backdrop for these fragmented narratives to unfold, and invite the viewer to journey with them.

Boyd’s interest in the sublime in nature is explored further in her small, atmospheric landscapes, which provide a stage for ephemeral, luminous clouds to play out their dramatic movements across familiar skies.