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Vessna Perunovich


  • born in 1960 in Zajecar, Serbia
  • father from Montenegro; mother is Serbian
  • immigrated to Toronto, Ontario in 1988
  • B.F.A., Academy of Fine Arts, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Yugoslavia (1984); M.F.A., Academy of Fine Arts, Univeristy of Belgrade, Belgrade, Yugoslavia (1987)

expanded images click on thumbnails at left to view larger images

Producing sculptural works out of pantyhose, Vessna Perunovich extends and manipulates her material into imaginative evocations of the physical body, exploring the precarious and tenuous boundary between pleasure and pain. Filling pantyhose with everyday objects Perunovich stretches her material, in order to test its physical limits. Referring to her 1996 exhibition, Theatre of the Mind, Perunovitch writes: "as this other skin for the body can easily rip, so can the body they are put over. By assembling these fragile structures, I have attempted to express the tensions of everyday reality versus our romantic views of sensuality and love. Through the use of diverse materials and forms I intended to reveal anxieties and desires we feel in our intimate relationships" (1996). In Of Passions and Rage (1998) Perunovich has filled red pantyhose with sand, suspending it in cage-like constructions made of garden fencing. Signifying blood, these red sculptural formations demonstrate Perunovich’s investigations into violence and war. The theme of domestic violence is explored again in Silent Cries (1998) an installation comprised of trumpets appended onto a wooden door. A red biomorphic substance, suggestive of blood flows from the trumpets alluding to the unheard voices of victims of domestic abuse. In her series, Small Scenes of Intimacy (1998) Perunovich engages in a critique of the artificial divisions imposed by society in order to demarcate different sexual behaviours. For Perunovich contemporary society exaggerates the difference between sexual orientations and genders in order to uphold barriers between people. Pantyhose for Perunovich is emblematic of society's efforts to contain and restrict our freedom, symbolizing the behavioral codes imposed upon us which prevent us from realizing our dreams and aspirations. Gillian Mackay has written, though, "whether Perunovich is representing mermaids or missiles--and she does both--her work consistently reflects the dynamism and joy of making. Fragile yet tough, ephemeral yet enduring, it speaks eloquently of transformation and transcendence" (1997).



1998 Theatre of the Mind/ Under the Skin, Behind the Mask
Gallery 96, Stratford, Ontario

Of Passion and Rage
MEG Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Small Scenes of Intimacy
Visual Arts Ontario, Toronto, Ontario


1998-97 Intimacy and Beyond
Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario, Sudbury, Ontario; Tableau Vivant Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1997 Stripped Bare
Hamilton Artists Inc., Hamilton, Ontario


1996 Recent Work
Canadian Film Centre, Toronto, Ontario


1995 Desire and Disillusion
Teodora Art Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Canadian Film Centre, Toronto, Ontario


1988 Icons and Idols
Gallery St. Luke, Toronto, Ontario


1987 Taboo Theme
Kolarac Gallery, Belgrade, Yugoslavia

Face Behind the Mask
Academy of Fine Arts Gallery, Belgrade, Yugoslavia



1998 Bawdy
Angel Gallery

Collective Unconscious Project
Wagner Rosenbaum Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Sacred Sex II
Harcourt House Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta

A Space, Toronto, Ontario

Art Salon '98
Canadian Opera House, Toronto, Ontario


1997 Making Waves
Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, Illinois

Recent Drawings
Factorie Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Image '97
Art Gallery of Mississauga, Mississauga, Ontario

Mighty Canadian Art
Red Head Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

OSA 125th Anniversary Travelling Exhibition
Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, Owen Sound, Ontario; Gallery Stratford, Stratford, Ontario; Rodman Hall Art Gallery, St. Catharines, Ontario; McLaren Arts Centre, Barrie, Ontario


1997-96 Sins and Lovers Revisited
Gibson Gallery, London, Ontario


1997-95 Open Juried Exhibition
Library & Gallery, Cambridge, Ontario


1997-89 Outdoor Art Exhibition
City Hall, Toronto, Ontario


1996 Image '96
John B. Aird Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Out of the Blocks
Gallery 435, Hamilton, Ontario

Reinterpreting the Environment
Consilium Place, Scarborough, Ontario


1995 Annual Open Juried Exhibition - Society of Canadian Artists
John B. Aird Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Music in Your Eyes
Edward Day Gallery, Cambridge, Ontario

Image '95
John B. Aird Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1993 Barber Bedard Gallery, Toronto, Ontario


1987 Biennial of Modern Art
Rijeka, Croatia

October Salon
Cvijeta Zuzoric, Belgrade, Yugoslavia



Arbuckle, Franklin. The Ontario Society of Artists '96. Toronto, Ontario: Ontario Society of Artists, 1996.

Ghaznavi, Corinna. Of Passion and Rage. Toronto, Ontario: MEG Gallery, 1998.

Hanna, Deidre. "Bawdy fetes carnival, In Lieu takes on loos." Now Magazine (2 July 1998): n.p.

Jankovic, Alexandra. Desire and Disillusion. Toronto, Ontario: Teodora Art Gallery, 1995.

MacKay, Gillian. "Skin tight." Canadian Art 14, no. 3 (Fall 1997): 92.

Mark, Lisa Gabrielle. "Letter from Toronto." C Magazine (September/November 1998): 37.

Perunovich, Vessna. Theatre of the Mind. Stratford, Ontario, Gallery 96, 1996.


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