Carolyn Parton

Born 1964 in Cape Town, South Africa
Lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa


Carolyn Parton is primarily a sculptural painter, innovatively extending the medium through her exploration of paint as physical matter; embedded with memory. Her research article Extended Traces: Tracking the impact of painter upon environment was published in 2010.


Collecting spent paint - particularly that which has a backstory - from local housepainters to acclaimed international artists, she develops methods to reclaim this paint, incorporating it as a remnant of environment and history.


Like an archaeologist, Parton explores crucial moments of human evolution to understand who we are in the present, as we stand at the cusp of an environmental challenge that will determine our legacy. Her sculpted paint cascades, landscapes of cosmic paint dust particles, stratified paint fragment installations, paint cloth mosaics with pallet remnants and clustered jewel like paint tubes, become the archive.


Her most recent project is influenced by the current debate in South Africa around decolonisation. Exploring this moment has led to her taking apart the works from books that were a part of her art studies over decades - cutting, and re-arranging them. The project is part of an ongoing process of re-thinking her sociocultural/environmental context.


Parton holds an Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design, Cape Town University of Technology and a Bachelor of art in Fine Art (cum laude) from the University of South Africa, 2008. Her solo exhibitions include Emergence (1997), Release (2009) and This Remembering Land (2015). She has taken part in numerous group exhibitions throughout South Africa and in London and Rome. Her work is included in permanent collections such as Southern African Foundation for Contemporary Art, University of Cape Town, University of South Africa and The Constitutional Court of South Africa.