Steve Turner is pleased to present Under One Sky, a solo exhibition by Ghent-based Shirley Villavicencio Pizango that features a selection of portrait paintings of friends, family and herself that were created in Ghent and Los Angeles. All the works are informed by Villavicencio’s fascinating history of living her first eighteen years in the crowded tenements of Lima and the last sixteen in the calm comfort of Ghent. They bear traces of Peru as well as the influences of academic rigor hard earned over many years in Belgium. Villavicencio’s sitters appear to be deep in thought and might also bear a touch of melancholy. She animates her expressionless sitters with vigorous brushstrokes while blocks of unpainted canvas likewise convey a sense of emptiness. According to Villavicencio, memories of Lima and the Peruvian Amazon are always part of her works: patterned fabrics, native plants, primitive vases and her brown skin tones are clear references, but the same end is more subtly achieved with just the right application of green or blue. She aims to highlight dark-skinned people like herself who are not part of European painting history while also recording the melancholy that she feels and observes wherever she is.
Shirley Villavicencio Pizango (born 1988, Lima) earned an MA at The Royal Academy of Fine Art (KASK), Ghent (2013) as well as a Laureate Degree at the Higher Institute of Fine Art (HISK), Ghent (2020). She has had solo exhibitions at Geukens & De Vil, Antwerp (2018 & 2020); Steve Turner, Los Angeles (2020); Ginsberg Gallery, Lima (2021); Frieze, London (2021, with Ginsberg) and Art Brussels (2022, with Geukens & De Vil). This is Villavicencio’s second solo exhibition with Steve Turner.