CURRENT EXHIBITION

Optimal Vibration Group Exhibition

4 May 2023 – 

Overview

‘We live in a radioactive and toxic time, which some call the ‘end times’. It is a time as apocalyptic as it is weirdly and wildly filled with promise. The key is never to succumb to fatality, always realise that options are open. As Shakespeare says – ‘Ripeness is All’. It is with this full embrace that we push ahead, refuse despair, hold fast to an optimal vibration – a vibration that is only possible when we stretch the bandwidth, tighten a flex so it thrums and soars with a dizzying grace. An optimal vibration is transcendence now, a miraculous connection, a bizarrely accurate bouncing ball that hits the spot from a weird angle. It is art that lights up a room, puts a spring in the step of tired feet, that scoops up sorrow and flings it over the moon. The optimal vibration can be loud, or gentle, easy on the eye, or leave one agog and aghast with a bellyful of laughter or a tickling titter. Matisse was right when he said that he made caring art for tired men and women to look at, once they’ve kicked off their shoes, and settled into a cozy couch with a comforting broth. Art need not hurt. Art can plunder canyons of joy. All can be illumined, even a bucket of shit by dazzling sunlight, as James Joyce reminds us. To dazzle, bedazzle, vibrate from the innards outward, is to adopt ‘a style that’s truly alive: meaning, it’s in the veins: meaning, it’s of the most ancient culture of immediate creation. Federico Garcia Lorca had a name for this optimal vibration – Duende… Something primitive yet modern, immemorial yet radically current. Not now now, but now!

Featured Artists

Andrew Kayser

Bastiaan van Stenis

Carolyn Parton 

Cathy Abraham

Connor Cullinan 

Doreen Southwood 

Gabrielle Raaff

Gaelen Pinnock

Gail Behrmann 

Geena Wilkinson

Gillian Rosselli

Jacob Van Schalkwyk

John-Michael Metelerkamp

Jo O’Connor

Karel Nel 

Katherine Spindler 

Kobus La Grange

Laurinda Belcher

Mary Visser 

Michael Pettit 

Moohko Ntho

Mustafa Maluka

Ndikhumbule Ngqinambi 

Olivia Botha

Paul Senyol

Patricia Driscoll

Robert Slingsby 

Robyn Denny 

Stephen Allwright

Talia Goldsmith 

Tanya Bonello 

Tracy Payne 

Vanessa Berlein

Featured Artwork

Andrew Kayser

I am often asked, “What is your work about? What are you trying to say?” This is difficult to answer, as, in truth, I’m not trying to say ‘anything’. My greatest hope is to offer the viewer an experience, rather than just an idea or a takeaway message presented in a nice, clean package.

I enjoy peculiar juxtapositions. My work is meant to be jarring, unsettling and create a sense of dissonance. These attributes draw you in, hold your attention, and give you space to create your own narrative. I’ve set up some parameters, but once it’s out there, the viewer takes over. I see the world as dark and ambiguous. Meaning is fleeting and intangible. We make up fiction, myths, religions, and narratives to create meaning and assume a sense of order and stability in our lives and societies. However, to hold onto any of these as absolute is pure folly.

Much consideration goes into the work to investigate the perplexity of our modern condition, bereft of traditional consolations, such as belief in a providential plan and the hopes for civilization and progress that have been shattered by the fragile, mutable realities we inhabit individually and collectively. This is my intention in creating the work, but what you take away is your own. I hope to create something dark, beautiful, and humane. A momentary respite from news, media, entertainment, smartphones, porn, and gaming all inadvertently designed to distract us from acknowledging that we are deeply flawed, muddled creatures aspiring to idealized notions and perfect lives. But that’s okay. If we recognize this, we may experience a fragile, necessary grace.

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Bastiaan van Stenis

Bastiaan van Stenis is a self-taught artist born in Cape Town in 1981, with Dutch and South African heritage. His artwork encompasses a diverse range of mediums, including paint, cloth, wax, and collage. Van Stenis’s unique style combines captivating figures with serene backgrounds, exploring personal narratives and societal complexities. Through layers of mixed media, he weaves together influences and memories, shaping identities. Van Stenis’s art embraces classicism, modern texture, neo-expressionism, and defies easy definition.

Carolyn Parton

Carolyn Parton is primarily a sculptural painter; she extends the medium through her investigation of paint as a physical matter embedded with memory. Parton’s deep interest in the human potential to transform energy and matter has resulted in her primary focus being the impact of it on living beings and the natural environment. In particular, there are accumulative traces left by human behaviour on earth. Parton views the creative act as holding the potential to transform destruction. 

Cathy Abraham

Abraham’s practice revolves around numbers like 9, 18, and 36, using systematic repetition and specific number combinations. She explore the purpose of everyday life, seeking a deeper understanding through the links between art, science, spirituality, and reincarnation. Brush marks are counted and considered a meditative process, leaving visual traces like ghosts. 

Her work exists in both time and space, lamenting past traumas while occupying tangible emotional and physical spaces. Repetitive processes and specific numbers shape the ongoing series: scales, ripple-effects, and ghostings. These series delve into ecological concerns, cause and effect, and the impact of haunting experiences. Abraham uses drawing techniques and aims to express the intangible, bringing to life that which is felt but difficult to express.

Connor Cullinan

The inspiration for this painting was an image of the Venus de Milo I found in an anatomy drawing manual. The photograph depicts the head of the famous sculpture in cross-section contours that convert the three-dimensional form into a series of lines. This paradox interested me as a painter because this describes what a painter must do to form: reduce it to the two-dimensional. 

The Venus head is shown in three-quarter view, but whenever I look at it, I also see a profile superimposed on the lefthand side of the face. Once again, the shift from form to shape is implied.

As the painting progressed, I became increasingly interested in schematising the face because the more reduced it became, the more it hovered between the visible and the invisible. I find the boundary where perception falters intriguing. The face is merely hinted at in places: former contours are reduced to points suggested by shifts of tone within the white lines. I used black and white paint only, so it was pleasing to see illusory colours appearing: grey becomes blue, which induces a muted orange. The strong black-white contrast also produces phantom colours that come and go. This contrast gives the impression of movement, another illusion that signals faltering perception.

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Gabrielle Raaff

Raaff’s work often explores the relationship between individuals and crowds in urban landscapes, utilizing ink, watercolor, and oil to create delicate conceptual spaces. In her latest series, Raaff places emphasis on the emotive quality of brushstrokes laden with watery paint. Some paintings merge form and landscape, while others isolate subjects from their surroundings, leaving them adrift in white space.

Raaff draws visual inspiration from sources such as local newspapers and family photos, both impersonal and nostalgic. Her paintings merge these two states to create a recognizable image that dissolves back into the terrain of the canvas. With minimal description and paint, Raaff leaves just enough visual evidence to suggest an idea, enticing the viewer with the seductive power of her work.

Gaelen Pinnock

Gaelen Pinnock, born in 1980, is an architect and artist based in Cape Town, South Africa. He graduated in 2001 from the University of Cape Town with a degree in architecture and later completed his postgraduate studies in 2005.  His creative process involves collage work, photography, and sculpture to investigate and document the dynamics of power in the urban landscape. His work analyses the legacies of failed utopian visions and the shadows cast by laws, societal structures and urban development trends. Having previously worked as an architect, there is both a strong theoretical and artistic engagement with the built world in his work. In his own words,“I am preoccupied with the patterns that underlay our cities, obscured by the myopia of day-to-day existence: masked by the glitz of developments and the creep of securitised precincts; ignored by the clustering of suburbs and the ebb and flow of traffic; pushed aside by our own fears and prejudices.”

 Much of Pinnock’s creations look at how modern developments and policies in South Africa are entrenching class separation in an urban landscape that is already shaped by the legacy of colonial rule, apartheid legislation and divisive spatial planning. He dissects the patterns hidden behind the myopia of the day-to-day, behind the agglomeration of suburbs, behind the ebb and flow of highways and all too often behind our own prejudice. He creates valuable snapshots of a city and society.

Gail Behrmann

Gail Behrmann, an abstract painter, currently resides and works in Johannesburg, South Africa. She received her fine art education from Bill Ainslie at the Johannesburg Art Foundation.

Alongside her painting career, Behrmann is also a filmmaker. Her film work involves researching for feature films and documentaries, as well as creating film installations for museums. Behrmann is comfortable working in both fields.

In 1988, Behrmann was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, which led to serious medical complications and a significant decrease in her painting production between 1994 and 1997. During this time, she focused mainly on her filmmaking. However, after receiving treatment and undergoing surgeries, Behrmann’s health conditions stabilized to a certain extent, allowing her to regain some momentum and start painting again. She began with group shows and private commissions.

Recently, Behrmann has also been involved in theatre productions for the Handspring Puppet Company, as well as William Kentridge’s video installations. In addition, she has worked on various projects, such as assisting Angus Gibson on video installations for the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg and the Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto, and directing installations for the Apartheid Museum and corporate installations.

Geena Wilkinson

Geena Wilkinson’s work is an exploration of the banal through domesticity, making use of various traditional fine-art mediums, often with food as the subject, as a way of highlighting temporality. Her works function as still-lives, speaking to the passing of time and making an attempt to preserve the social space that encompasses them. She draws from the nostalgia embedded within memory, breaking up the perceived linear projection of the past and entering the void between utopia and reality. Her work is a means of documenting that which is often perceived to be outside of the history – but is constructed through the archive, and yet is central to everyday life.

There is a pervasive absence surrounding her archive of still-lives. Picnic spreads are laid out a little too neatly, emitting an eerie tension as they beg not to be disturbed, in Jana Terblanche’s words they are, ‘sweets that you can’t eat, lips that you can’t touch’. Terblanche elaborates on this, ‘This playful negation of our primary desire for art to be pleasing provokes where it might placate. It reminds us as viewers that art is not there simply to give us what we want.’ (2019).

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Gillian Rosselli

Born in Zimbabwe in 1962, Rosselli’s art is characterized by her concerns about the social inequalities surrounding migration and the effects of colonialism. Her most recent series of performances explore themes such as the construction of identity, the adoption of queer labels, the dynamics of family relationships, and the importance of imagining a state of freedom. Rosselli’s artwork has been displayed in numerous local and international exhibitions, including the ground breaking ‘Five Bhobh – Painting At the End of an Era’, which was the first major exhibition showcasing contemporary Zimbabwean artwork, and was held at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town in 2018.

Jacob Van Schalkwyk

Known primarily as an abstract artist, Jacob Van Schalkwyk uses lithographic ink as a medium for drawing and painting. His work on paper and aluminum conflates the distinction between drawing, painting, printmaking, and low relief sculpture. This series of lithographic drawings offer a nuanced look into the science of color theory, more specifically how a viewer’s eye responds to variations of hue.

Jacob van Schalkwyk (b.1979) holds his BFA in Drawing from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, and a MAVA in Sculpture from Stellenbosch University. He spent 9 years in New York City experimenting with audio and visual performance techniques. Highlights include two stints as visiting artist at CalArts in 2005 and 2006, performing at Central Park Summerstage, the Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2006, and touring South Africa with The Last Poets, also in 2006. He returned to South Africa – and to drawing – in 2008, where he exhibited regularly at GALLERY AOP and DKP in Johannesburg between 2011 and 2018. He fronted the Afrikaans punk band Jaco+Z-dog from 2009-2011. His novel The Alibi Club was published in Afrikaans and English by Penguin Random House in 2014. Van Schalkwyk is a research affiliate of the University of Stellenbosch, where he served as Head of Fine Arts between 2019-2020.

John-Michael Metelerkamp

I believe that my job as an artist is to simplify the complexities of my life. Or at least my experience of it. The sense of overstimulation I feel and a propensity for chaos lingers around every corner of my psyche. That tension between chaos and order is a primary informer of the work I strive to make.

Translating what I feel and see into a visual language is about focusing on something that I find interesting. And I may not be able to pin down the exactness of my curiosity; but I feel the need to challenge these thoughts and feelings and show myself what it looks like in a visual sense, with paint.

Experimentation is a huge part of my process. I try not to think until I am standing in front of the canvas, paintbrush in hand. Forcing thought opens up possibilities of a journey through the painting. Colours dictate colours and forms dictate forms. George Condo said “Don’t step back until you think you have something to look at’’. I adopt this practice. I get close to the painting. I want to be in the painting.

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Karel Nel

Karel Nel was born in 1955 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. He studied Fine Art at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, St Martin’s School of Art, London and the University of California, Berkeley (Fulbright Placement 1988-89). He now lives and works in Johannesburg and is an associate professor at the School of Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand. He has taught fine arts in the division since the early 80s. Nel is a respected collector of African, Asian, and Oceanic art with a particular interest in currencies.

Southern African material is his area of expertise, and he acts as an advisor to several national and international museums on their collections of African art. He has also been part of curatorial teams for major international exhibitions on early Zulu, Tsonga and Shangaan art, and has contributed to numerous publications on this material. He is interested in early Modernism in South Africa, with a particular focus on Preller, Battiss, Villa, and the Amadlozi Group. Nel is a practicing artist who exhibits regularly and is represented in numerous museums. He is well-known for large public commissions in both South Africa and abroad.

Katherine Spindler

Katherine Spindler, born in 1982 in South Africa, finished her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2004 and her Masters in Fine Arts in 2011—both passed with distinction- at the Michaelis School of Fine Arts, University of Cape Town. Spindler received several awards during her studies, including the MacIver Scholarship. Between 2012 and 2016, she lectured part-time in drawing and printmaking at the Michaelis School of Art. Between 2014 and 2020, she taught in the Art Department of Bishops Diocesan College. Currently, Spindler lectures in contemporary art & design programs at the Cape Town Creative Academy. 

Looking at her creative works, Spindler unites the kinetic with the calm; she evokes both a sense of commotion and stillness. When viewing her paintings, there is a feeling of movement beneath the surface, inspiring a vast ambiguity. Light and shadow are perceived in a flicker; it dwindles and regresses, flashes, and swirls. The surface of the canvas mimics the instability and unpredictability of water, all while maintaining a captivating and introspective stillness. Importantly, Spindler intends to suggest, rather than explain, to arouse more than to impose.

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Kobus La Grange 

Born in 1982 in Freestate, South Africa. Kobus grew up on a farm in Viljoenskroon, a small town between Klerksdorp and Potchefstroom.  Matriculating in 2000, he received his schooling in Klerksdorp. He moved to Pretoria in 2001, studying at the then Pretoria Technicon, majoring in Sculpture and Ceramic studies and further lecturing for the ceramics department in 2004. He also regularly participated in competitions and student and staff exhibitions during this time. 

Kobus can be understood as a prolific and versatile sculptural creator. He explores the poetry of the human form and expresses a deep curiosity for the narratives the body bears within it. Although he is most strongly connected to the tradition of woodcarving, he has also turned to cast bronze, welded steel, ceramics, and fire sculpture as additional avenues of creative output. Kobus’s work reminisces on the whimsy of folktales and the storytelling that takes place around campfires. His sculptural expressions are raw and authentic; the slashes and tears in his work create texture and embody the unfiltered nature of traditional story-sharing. Whilst there is an impulsiveness and spontaneity in his work, he still displays decisive and intentional deliberation which can be credited to his meticulous training in the craft.

Laurinda Belcher

Laurinda Belcher, a painter based in Paarl, creates little stories with concealed elements through her intuitive art-making process. Her inspiration is drawn from the playful nature of her inner child and changing the perspective of domestic objects such as curtains, duvet covers and the morning sun’s light and shadow. Belcher’s paintings depict a private world within the seemingly mundane, using acrylic paint and mixed media on canvas. Previously a preschool teacher in Hanoi, Belcher’s interest in psychology and the impact of childhood trauma on adult perception informs her work’s whimsical and dark nature. Through her painting practice, she aims to express the innermost thoughts and feelings that words often fail to capture. The narrative structure of her works is influenced by her fascination with folklore and superstitions, allowing her to explore the covert human psyche.

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Mary Visser

I see the painting not as a window looking out, but rather as a container in which I can freely arrange and rearrange things.

In the studio, I seek to set up a dialogue between myself and the canvas. As if I’m meeting a new person. Like a conversation of sorts. I start with no preconceived plan. As I experiment with different approaches, I wonder about how my aesthetic judgements have changed over time, how am I influenced by my cultural heritage and context and how or is this apparent in the paintings?

I try keep a cheerful attitude even when the painting starts looking terrible. At some point I think ‘oooh yuck, now what?’. This pushes me to try something new and risky in order to salvage the painting.

I juxtapose and layer many disparate things much like thoughts, events and memories might be arranged in a dream. As I meet the painting, I respond in the moment using the debris scattered studio floor as visual trigger; torn magazine shards, doodles, notes and sketches of street life, emotional musings, fragments of favourite paintings and my own childhood drawings.

 

Michael Pettit

Pettit’s paintings are bold, incorporating both lightness and darkness. He aims to knit together perceptions and concepts into energetic pieces that appeal to the personal and the collective. Michael Pettit’s work challenges classification; his work embraces the multifarious and is ever-changing. He states, “People have often remarked that I seem to be able to fully assimilate very contrasting styles and idioms, make each my own, and produce a work that is its own distinct integrated world. I am beguiled by the “game” that’s set and which evolves for each picture, and the challenge is to play it out with thoroughness”.

Since his first solo exhibition at the Walsh-Marais Gallery and the Natal Society of Art in 1973, Pettit has participated in several solo and group exhibitions, all of which have been held in South African cities. Michael’s works hang in prestigious galleries and public collections in South Africa, such as the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum, the Durban Art Gallery, the Pietersburg Art Gallery, and the S.A. National Gallery. Prominent universities and private collections have also acquired the artist’s artworks. Pettit currently lives and works in Cape Town.

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Mustafa Maluka

Maluka describes himself as a “bio-artist, cultural analyst, ethical hacker, global citizen, and Ph.D. dropout”. However, he is perhaps most celebrated for his large-scale portraits with bold expressions that expose profound and collective truths regarding survival and confrontation. Drawing inspiration from his family’s forceful displacement during Apartheid and his childhood growing up in the Cape Flats, Maluka explores themes of migration and human emotion, and occasions of overlap with the worlds of fashion and popular culture. To discuss the erasure of immigrant identities, he paints his portraits with a sense of ambiguity and uncertainty, suggesting a transnational identity.

“I am my main subject. I change so much so fast. I can’t stay on one angle all the time. My perspectives change the more I learn, read and come in touch with people. I think what I’m looking for is the “in between”. Sometimes race, sometimes sex, sometimes culture, sometimes not about that at all, sometimes about class and identity. An identity which defies the usual specificity prescribed by geographic and cultural borders. Basically the multidimensionality of the human experience.”

Ndikhumbule Ngqinambi

Artist Ndikhumbule Ngqinambi, born in 1977, is a South African painter based in Cape Town. Though he studied at Community Arts Project in Cape Town, he is mostly a self-taught visual artist. Ngqinambi’s work is inspired by sound, films, body movement and dance. He describes his work as “extreme figurative expression”. His paintings reflect South African and international political landscapes and their social dynamics.

He is currently working on a project called, “The Upright Ones”, which explores the fine line between justice and mercy. The fictional narrative involves a leader who grooms modern AI-integrated soldiers with a mission to defend a certain precious land and its occupying people from the merciless rulers, who squander the resources of the land. The project explores the possibilities of both narration and painting.

Olivia Botha

Olivia Botha is an artist who specializes in various mediums such as video performance, installation, collage, and painting. She is interested in concepts of language – how we communicate, and how we are unable to communicate. Through this framework, Botha explores the different ways in which our relationships – with inanimate objects, as well as the animate – affect our lives.

Botha was born in Bloemfontein and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. She holds a Fine Art degree from the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town, where she graduated in 2017. In 2018 Botha received the Cassirer Welz Award, which resulted in a new body of work exhibited at SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg. After her residency at the Bag Factory, she stayed on as a resident artist at the Bag Factory Artists’ Studios. Botha has also participated in numerous group shows, most notably at The African Center in New York, Turbine Art Fair in Johannesburg, ABSA Gallery in Johannesburg and at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare.

Paul Senyol

Paul Senyol is an abstract painter who reflects the details of everyday life, paired down to an empathy with colour, line and form. His work is a crafted response to his wonderings through various spaces. 

The colours and textures of urban and natural environments inform his spontaneous practice in the studio where every material he uses – acrylics, pastels, ink, pencils and spray paint – is chosen for the particular mark it can contribute to a finished composition. 

Senyol has been studying art and the mark since his fascination with skateboarding magazines as a teenager in Cape Town. Skateboarding emerged as a gateway to early creative works on the street and remains an important part of Senyol’s experience of urban spaces. He makes regular visits to the public library to source graphics, album covers, magazine layouts and illustrations. 

Senyol’s unique visual language is founded on the inevitable change and flux in environments. His works are testament to the translation of experiences into form.

Paul’s work can be found in the corporate collections of Spier, ABSA and PWC.

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Patricia Driscoll

Driscoll was born in Johannesburg in 1974 and currently lives and works there. She obtained a Masters of Fine Arts with distinction from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg between 2010 and 2012, and a degree in Photography Fine Art from Rhodes University in Grahamstown between 1997 and 1999. She matriculated from Durban Girls High School in 1992.

Driscoll has had several solo exhibitions, including “Floating World 2” at Gallery MOMO in Johannesburg in 2014, “Night-light” at the Substation in the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg in 2012, and “Closure” at The Blue Room during the Grahamstown Festival in 1999. She has also exhibited in various galleries, such as the Kirkkopuisto Photo Annual at Äkkigalleria in Jyväskylä, Finland, in 2012, and “Floating World 1” and “Littoral” at Gallery MOMO in Johannesburg in 2009

Robert Slingsby

Robert Slingsby is a multidisciplinary artist, he studied at the Vrije Akademie, in Holland for five years. Slingsby has worked as a fulltime artist exhibiting both locally and internationally for over 40 years. He lives and works in Cape Town. Robert’s trajectory as an artist began in his teens and he has consistently reflected his enduring interests in context of the world around him.

There are four cornerstones which define Slingsby’s art; his deep interest in the petroglyph rock art of Southern Africa, traditional African culture and communities, both contemporary and ancient, including the characters which inhabit African mythology, the impact of Anthropocene man’s activities on the environment in general and traditional communities in particular, and finally, extensive research through field work, to extremely remote regions of Africa, to source original material.

The relationship between his art and the fieldwork drives each to greater understanding, broadens his range of techniques and maintains an ever-expanding and unique archive of modernisation in Africa through the lens of recording contemporary culture.

Every Slingsby work of art, through a language inspired by the iconography found on rock art, not only in southern Africa but universally, represents a dialogue between traditional cultural heritage and his contemporary art and serves as a record or mirror of unfolding events. Slingsby’s commitment to fieldwork to form first-hand observations results in consecutive series of art spearheading contemporary cultural concepts and earning recognition as an active participant in shaping contemporary African art.

Robyn Denny

I explore the tension arc from colonial trauma to contemporary renewal, using the practice of ‘Somatic Abolitionism’, which trains one to acknowledge generational trauma stored in the body, I’m ‘listening’ to places and people with my Vagus nerve, unpacking intersecting histories from a cellular level.

In my creative process, I ask how we are implicated in a historical unfolding and how we might transform it. I work with images that have a deep guttural resonance — images that move me out of my head into my feeling centre. From this space, the pieces evolve. 

My present series, MAGENTA SUGARCANE, is both inspired by Dr. Devrakshanam (Betty) Govinden and the memories of entrapment and entanglement that permeated my Natal childhood. 

Stephen Allwright

Stephen John Allwright was born in Prince Albert in the Great Karoo in 1969. He received a Bachelor of Social Science (economics and politics) degree from the University of Cape Town with honours in Economics. Stephen is a self-taught artist and has been practising since 1998. He currently lives and works in Barrydale.

Allwright began painting in earnest after leaving Cape Town to spend two years in near complete isolation in Die Hel, a remote village in the Swartberg Mountains near his birthplace, Prince Albert. Since then he has been prolific, exhibiting most recently at the Tyburn Gallery in London and at SMITH in Cape Town.

Now living and working in Barrydale with his wife and young son, Allwright has refined an uncompromisingly honest and unmistakable style that is at times erotic and even violent but more often heart-wrenchingly tender. The work is a form of self-portraiture, although inverted: with the unfolding image as his guide, Allwright attempts to distill and decipher his impulsive responses to the manifest world by creating what he calls “an emblematic shorthand”.

Talia Goldsmith

The title of Talia Goldsmith’s sculpture series – SISYPHUS – alludes to myth; namely, a story of eternal futile toil and the absurdity of human existence, embodied in the figure of a man forever failing to push a rock to its summit. However, in his rethinking of the myth, Albert Camus notes that ‘The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy’. This turnaround, away from despair, towards the embrace of toil, is, for Camus, deeply connected to a vision of ‘culture, and the freedom it implies’, that cannot ignore imperfection. Culture is both necessary and imperfect, and, as ‘authentic creation’ it is ‘a gift to the future’. 

It is with this unblinkered positivity, that we must consider Talia Goldsmith’s revision of the Myth of Sisyphus. Like Camus, she holds fast to the vitality of sincere creativity, which, if mired in difficulty, is also an overcoming of that difficulty. Her ‘rocks’, piled one above the other, realigns an age-old uphill struggle. Now we see them shot through a steel rod – rivetted. While by no means similar in look, Goldsmith’s sculptures evoke gabions – a metal mesh container filled with stones – though, in her case, the sequence is vertical. Furthermore, Goldsmith’s ‘stones’ – formed with wire mesh, cement mix and plaster, injected with polyurethane foam, painted with acrylic pigment, finally sheathed with a UV water resistant sealer – are illusory. 

Goldsmith’s rocks are simulated. Their vivid organic colours – blue, yellow, green, grey, among others – suggest an unreal dissonance. Precariously yet elegantly balanced, her towers of stone speak to hope, to a future, in which the Anthropocene – the man-made abuse of nature, its unerring drive to contaminate – still finds the capacity for grace and beauty. Herein lies the strength of Talia Goldsmith’s series. One cannot refute the imperfect beauty of her elongated forms. Rubble too, is art. Her sculptures, in this dark and fearful and confusing time, are our consolation.

  • Talia Goldsmith

    Concrete, steel, polyurethane foam, cement mix & plaster with acrylic pigment, and UV water-resistant sealer

    65 x 47cm

    2023

  • Talia Goldsmith

    Concrete, steel, polyurethane foam, cement mix & plaster with acrylic pigment, and UV water-resistant sealer

    65 x 47cm

    2023

  • Talia Goldsmith

    Concrete, steel, polyurethane foam, cement mix & plaster with acrylic pigment, and UV water-resistant sealer

    120 x 47cm

    2023

  • Talia Goldsmith

    Concrete, steel, polyurethane foam, cement mix & plaster with acrylic pigment, and UV water-resistant sealer

    167 x 47cm

    2023

Tanya Bonello

Born in 1972, South African artist Tanya Bonello currently lives and works in Cape Town. She graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Michaelis School of Fine art at the University of Cape Town. Bonello’s works can be found both locally and internationally in private and corporate collections

Bonello practices with and mixes various mediums, primarily that of gypsum, oil paint and found objects, also incorporating synthetic silver and gold leaf into her creative process. Bonello explains: “The gypsum and synthetic gold and silver leaf, by virtue of their nature, will continue to transform or change – they are representative of the maxim ‘all is in a state of flux’. The geometry signifies that which we know – the fathomable – whilst the writing appears to be unfathomable as a known language, and as such is representative of that which we do not know or that which we cannot describe in words.”

Inspired by astronomy, history, physics, geology and astronomy, Bonello’s thematic concerns investigate memory and a universal consciousness. She writes, “In my work, I try to bring to the fore a memory of our collective consciousness through the use of a universal language that is ancient and true and understood by everyone. A language that is beyond words and cultural differences. The geometrical forms of the circle, square, triangle and grid are vehicles towards this universal understanding and as such these timeless shapes operate as a unifying force reminding us that we are all One. Everything is interconnected”.

Vanessa Berlein

 Although primarily a painter, throughout her career she has explored and worked in many mediums, including, photography, various print mediums, and sculpture. Her work has been and continues to be exhibited in South Africa and abroad.

Berlein works across a broad spectrum of subjects, from portraiture to landscapes, abstraction to botanical study. Now in her 50’s, having worked consistently as an artist for over 30 years, subjects, mediums, and techniques are beginning to merge in her work. Where her botanical paintings were mostly small in scale, they are now as oversized as her portraits have always been. Landscapes have merged with abstraction, and the use of thread, metal leafing, and industrial products have begun to be incorporated in all of her works.

 

Current Exhibitions
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Past Exhibitions
Christy Lee Rogers – Hybrids
Christy Lee Rogers – Hybrids

12 October – 04 November 2017

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