Penny Siopis
Open Form / Open Studio

Finissage – 12 August, 11am – 1pm

Unit 15 – The Meat Factory – 372 Voortrekker Rd (entrance on Mowbray Street)

For the past four months Penny Siopis has been in residence at the Maitland Institute. The physical space and location of the building offered Siopis the perfect site for a project she had in mind – to open up her painting process to the public and to use its particularly dynamic form to engage wider discussion about making and thinking, and the potential of our uncertain times for creative action.


During the residency Siopis has worked in situ on large-scale paintings in glue and ink, presented talks and conversations around different aspects of her process, and conducted workshops for learners at school and tertiary levels. At the finissage on Saturday 12 August, these paintings will be on view, along with documentation of their making.


Reflecting on the Open Form/Open Studio residency, Olga Speakes writes: What Siopis has opened up – literally, through the public workshops, and materially, in her process – is a dialogue about all matter. She recognises all the acting forces within her work and situates herself as just one among them, forming networks of relationships that, through a ripple-like effect, are capable of bringing about open-ended change within wider webs or ‘assemblages’ …


Siopis relishes the sharing of agency in the making of the work between herself and her medium, and it is in this spirit that her residency at the Maitland Institute was conceived. The ‘Open Form’ component of the project is about making boundaries porous, unsettling conventional notions of the artist and artwork. It places emphasis on co-authoring and mutual vulnerability between artist and object to allow a new kind of relating to take place. ‘Open Studio’ does the same. It is relevant not only for the studio but for thinking about a different model of social interaction beyond its walls.


Throughout her career Siopis has consciously pursued the educational potential of art practice beyond the established academic structures and limitations of access. The question we are asked is: what happens when perceived truths are discarded in favour of uncertainty? Is there hope that one’s vulnerability can open the space for a connection with others that is not shaped by violence?


To read the full essay, and to view documentation of the residency, visit


RSVP for the finissage to

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