Sunny Side Up Summer Group Exhibition

Sunny Side Up Summer Group Exhibition

Upcoming
Sunny Side Up Summer Group Exhibition
3 November 2022 – 22 January 2023
Overview

The sun comes up like a big bald head’. Laurie Anderson’s charmingly simple line sets the tone for a show brimming with gentle optimism. In the southern hemisphere it is summer, Johannesburg is hard at work, with a zest not only for money, but life. This is often forgotten – that the will and drive that defines the city also defines its boundless generosity, keen attention to others, readiness to overcome each and every obstacle – to succeed. This is the mantra of Graham Contemporary, a dealership that has tapped the zeitgeist – why art matters now, in an otherwise cynical arena. SUNNY SIDE UP defines this energy field. The art is uplifting, though never glib. Riotous, though never nasty. Splendid, though never arrogant. A sunbeam or fragile state are equally promising, because, after Nietzsche,  SUNNY SIDE UP aspires to thrive in a permanent midday, or high noon, in which an African light strips away all shadow,  where ghosts no longer prowl and all is wholly minted anew. The sun is perpetually inspiring, always novel. Art which draws from its energy is the greater balm.

Featured Artwork

Alexander Opper 

My work has focused primarily on the spatially and socially fraught city of Johannesburg, in a sense the perfect locus for my work, precisely because it is such an imperfect city (inscribed with division even 25+ years after the political dismantling of apartheid). Locating my research in this fraught context adds further credence to my work, particularly in current times of dissonance linked to the complex layers of a ‘nation’ grappling with an emergent and unpredictable state of becoming or, as it feels to many now – considering this city and country’s multiple structural failings – a relentless state of un-becoming. Adding to these local tensions the world at large appears to have reached a simultaneity of breaking points, hinging on current widespread social unrest, political uncertainty, economic precariousness, creeping fascism and an apparently permanent state of othering and shifting of blame. These conditions play out in architectural space and place. In Johannesburg, such instances also unfold in many if not invisible then at least overlooked zones that exist in this sprawlingly uneven urban conurbation. These zones, what one might refer to as non-spaces and non-places, lend themselves to and deserve closer consideration in their essential yet elusive states of in-betweenness. 

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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

van Stenis’ paintings are expressed using a diverse range of tools and mediums, including paint, cloth, encaustic wax, hair, glues, and collage. His other projects include taxidermy and sculpture. van Stenis states, “What drives me is the process, the creating and the creation itself is just another stop on the way”. His art is captivatingly unique.  His style commands the viewer’s attention, and his subject matter absorbs their interest.  The figures that are presented both explode from and dissolve into the creamy peach oranges, mint greens, and Naples yellows that have become a central part of his style. The serenity of these backgrounds contrasts with the figures and scenarios that are depicted upon them.

van Stenis’ art, inspired by the surroundings within which he exists, is saturated with layers of mixed media.  The use of alternative mediums in the works themselves takes the idea that we are a conglomeration of the influences that define us further.  The masterful manner through which he weaves his mediums together becomes significant; it represents the stitching together of the self in a dreamlike portrayal of reality.  The worlds that van Stenis creates develop with time – small details move to the fore in the viewer’s appreciation of the work.

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Carolyn Parton

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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Christiaan Conradie 

Christiaan Conradie explores the importance of human embodiment and the complexity of aged bodies through his art. He challenges conventional notions of self-perception and portraiture, emphasizing doubt and the liberation from societal constraints. Conradie’s focus on the aging white male body is a deliberate choice that disrupts stereotypes and invites us to reevaluate our understanding of human complexity. He reminds us that love, care, and understanding can still thrive in an age of anger. His aim is not to explain or change the world, but to expand our perspective and break free from limitations.

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Connor Cullinan

My work is about visual perception, which began as a contemporary extension of 1960s Op art into the realm of figuration. Op art introduced the notion of the artwork as an experience rather than an inert object, by foregrounding the act of looking. My paintings similarly invite the viewer to engage with them through prolonged gazing. This focused attention on looking aims to make the viewer self-consciously aware of their own sense of sight, to allow for an investigation into visual perception and to reaffirm the visual in visual art.

 The subtle optical illusions that the paintings give rise to illuminate the processes in the brain where perception begins to disintegrate. The sense of transience and dematerialisation is reinforced by the binary line technique used to construct the subject matter: much of the space between the dark lines is the empty ground of the canvas, which effectively makes the subjects only half there. The dark lines read as a screen of parallel filaments through which one peer at the ground and as one does so, the subjects appear to dissolve and move, suggesting the invisible kinetic energy that lies beneath the solid form.

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Coral Bijoux

Coral Bijoux develops her ideas and concepts through an auto-ethnographic visual language that is fecund with metaphor and symbol, textured surfaces echoing layered meanings. Her artwork, curatorial practice, and projects centre on these experiences and observations, predominantly using installation as an overarching practice with sculpture, mixed and multi-media drawings, photography, animation, and painting. 

Bijoux is concerned with space, how humans engage with the environment and how art can play a vital role in nurturing this relationship. Furthermore, she is interested in the metaphor of material as well as its alchemy, so she juxtaposes various materials against one another, organic with synthetic.  In her installations, she incorporates numerous found materials, including  industrial recycled plastic, wood, raw clay, wire, metal/steel, Perspex, board, and paper, as well as the materials she has grown.

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Dale Lawrence

Born in 1988, South African artist Dale Lawrence lives in Cape Town, where he works as a solo artist for the creative studio and artist collective Hoick, which he co-founded. Lawrence works with and merges a vast range of mediums including painting, monotype, linocut, sculpture, installation and performance

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Fumani Maluleke

Limpopo-born artist Fumani Maluleke has carried with him the spirit of art for as long as he can remember. From being the unruly child who drew in schoolbooks and on the walls of his family home, to now being an artist who has won several art prizes and further becoming a teacher, sharing his skill set with the next generation. Maluleke’s creativity pays homage to his journey rather than focusing on the uncertainty of an unknown destination. This is evident in his choices regarding subject matter and medium. Traditional grass mats, depictions of sprawling rural landscapes and three-legged pots all speak to symbolic moments in Maluleke’s journey.  It would be expected for Maluleke to have put behind any reminders of his humble beginnings once he reached the big city of Johannesburg. However, it is this rural upbringing, along with the sacrifice and support of his mother and siblings, that become ever-present features in his work.

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Jan-Henri Booyens

Born in 1980, Jan-Henri Booyens lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Durban Institute of Technology in 2004. His work is often described in terms of a struggle between the representational and abstract, the rational and the chaotic. His affinity and critical engagement with Modernism are coupled with his relationship to the South African landscape, both physical and social, manifested in an intuitive, texture-rich layering of oil paint on canvas and bold use of colour and line. 

Booyens incorporates his experimentation with street art, photography and digital ‘Glitch Art’ and GIFs into his canvasses, as seen in his solo presentations at blank projects, ‘WHITEOUT’ (2015) and ‘Some Kind of Nature’ (2014). He was one-third of the artist collective Avant Car Guard, who employed paint, photography, and sculpture to offer a satirical critique of South Africa’s art world.

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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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Jo O’Connor

Formally, elements of randomness and repetition have featured significantly in my work. I believe this reflects both nature and industry, and also illustrates the uncertainty as well as the routine that mark our lives. Artworks over the last two decades have found expression in various media: from drawing , sculpting, video, installation and performative work with a return in the last several years to painting. 

My work has explored an interest in ‘urban camouflage’ and consequently pattern. The urban environment has been utilised as a palette for colours, patterns and shapes… but in the studio, the ‘real’ world recedes and the endless possibilities of these formal elements present a look inward. Compositions often times start with a considered shape and evolve intuitively…  so that variable elements come together to form an equilibrium: the sum of the parts equals the whole, in other words.

My process of painting is one of discovery, as if I was to build and solve a puzzle at the same time. At times the correlation of repetition and  ‘considered randomness’ bring to mind the abstract aspect of rhythm, composition and pattern. Other times the composition will move elsewhere – choices in the work arise from the work itself and I strive to be attuned and responsive to them. Currently my exploration into the formal aspects of abstraction and my practice of progressing its elements  intuitively continues.

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Katherine Spindler

 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

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.

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Kristin NG-Yang

Kristin has traveled extensively through Southern Africa, Europe, and America; visiting many museums and galleries during her travels. She has held numerous solo exhibitions in South Africa, Italy and China. Her artworks have been exhibited in South Africa, France, Germany, Sweden, the UK, Portugal, Italy, Australia and China, and have been collected by art galleries, art institutions and private collectors.

Both Kristin’s grandfather, a traditional Chinese literati artist, and father, who practiced oil paintings in a more Western style, had a deep love for the arts. And so, having grown up around artists, Kristin’s creativity was nurtured from a young age. She moved to South Africa having been offered the opportunity to learn English, she had only intended to stay for two years- this of course was not the case. Kristin’s work traverses the experience of a Chinese-born artist living in South Africa. She talks about how she used to sit in her car and simply observe the movement around her little enclosed space. She discusses a quietness in her work, which ultimately in part stems from the separation she felt as a foreigner- entranced by the beauty of the country yet feeling somewhat outside of it. 

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Margot Muir

Like Judith Joy Ross, the photographer whose work, among many others, stretches me, influences me profoundly, I have a radical belief in the individual. There is a perfect space between (and within) the potential strength of the collective and the talent, character and thrust of each of us. It seems to me there is an exquisite space between the spectacle of Western individualism and the intelligence of collective humanism and its profound power. The coalescing of the Individual being (and individual presence, voice and affirmation in the world) and ‘I am because of others’. The assumption that Ubuntu necessarily informs an absence of individuality is a distortion, not so? In parallel, I reflect with clarity that we will lose something deep inside of ourselves, if we allow wilderness to be destroyed. 

I refer to W Eugene Smith’s quote “…and each time I pressed the shutter release it was a shouted condemnation hurled with the hope that the picture might survive through the years, with the hope that they might echo through the minds of men in the future – causing them caution and remembrance and realization.”

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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.

 Painting is entertainment for me, so it’s got to be fun! I start with one mark or a set of delicious colours. This begins a conversation of sorts between myself and the canvas. This is super exciting and I’m thrilled by the possibilities. As I make decisions to keep this mark or obscure this shape, problems start to emerge. I try to keep a cheerful attitude even when the painting starts looking terrible. At some point I think ‘oooh yuck, ok great, nothing to lose now’. This gets me excited to try something completely different and risky in order to salvage the painting.

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Mashir Kresenshun

For the longest time I asked myself “What does it mean to be Indian?”. In my artistic practice, I grapple with this question. 

My work explores aspects of “what constitutes Indian-ness” both in contemporary South Africa and across the world. In my theoretical exploration, I discovered more about my multicultural identity and gained a sense of self-authenticity. Growing up, I lived on my grandparent’s farm in rural Kwa-Zulu Natal. I spent time in their tavern and encountered people from different cultures and races. These experiences influenced my practice tremendously.

 I find racial constructs, particularly in the South African context problematic. I strive for humanity and unity. However, I try not to abandon my cultural acquisition of Indianness in my practice. As themes, I explore the duality between life and death; unpack aspects of spirituality, nature and architecture; examine the associations to the subconscious mind; and lastly, explore concepts of love and beauty. The ideologies of theosophy, modern culture, race, and religion coupled alongside my Indian heritage,  informs my subject matter. 

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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”. 

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Mncedi Madolo

Born in 1988, South African artist Mncedi Madolo completed a diploma in Fine Arts at Walter Sisulu University in 2014, majoring in painting. While studying he founded Smoked Beef Studios in East London in 2013 inorder to pursue graphic design work. In 2017 he moved to Johannesburg to embark on a career as a full-time artist. 

The multimedia collage works on show demonstrate the artist’s background in graffiti and graphic art while foregrounding the black female body in the context of common urban detritus recognisable from Johannesburg’s streets.

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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. 

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Sal Price

I created this collection of work during a period of global uncertainty and change. As the artist, the meaning was created within the moment’s creativity and represents a flow of global, local and personal consciousness. The impressions made over these moments shift over time, allowing myself and the viewer to develop a playful dialogue with the images. The works begin with fast and loose marks that lead to the opening of a dance of sorts that begins to forge their unintentional path. Gradually, as we become familiar with each other, the narrative begins. Without knowing which next steps we take, we start to make sense of the possibilities of direction as an improvised theme develops and matures. The stories that emerge weave subtle commentaries that may mean something different to each person who observes them. Although the content and subject matter for my paintings and drawings are not always exceptionally light, the works are bright and colourful. They offer the viewer a way to engage in the images in a very personal and imaginative way.

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Sitaara Stodel

South African contemporary artist Sitaara Stodel, born in 1991 in Cape Town, graduated from Michaelis School of Fine Art with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, majoring in photography.  Stodel works across various mediums, ranging from photography, collage, video, and printmaking. 

For Stodel, moving house was a constant event throughout her life. Stodel recalls moving houses forty times in her lifetime. During childhood, the artist, her sister, and her mother moved into properties that they could not afford, resulting in regular evictions. Since Stodel moved out of her familial home, the habit of constantly changing addresses has continued into her adult life.

This unusual state of being finds expression within the artist’s work. Her pieces are created using other people’s family photographs that she collects at antique stores and markets. Through her work, Stodel curates her own memories of childhood and beyond, using scenes of interiors and exteriors of houses, pets, prized home possessions, and landscapes. 

 

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Talia Goldsmith

“Art for me is stepping into the unknown. Sometimes the materials lead me, trying to dictate, and sometimes I am the leader. It’s like a dance that creates something out of nothing. When the work sings to me I know it’s done.  ​My work focuses on recycling and the transformation of materials that have been discarded. I am drawn to the textured, dilapidated, rusted, weathered and decayed materials affected by the interaction of time and history. Through the materials that I use: cardboard, metal, glass, wire mesh, rubber, plastic, hessian, mud, ash, pigments, building materials and other treasures I am stepping into the unknown in order to reconstruct by pulling apart, dismantling, manipulating and weaving a new story using the material as a metaphor. Sometimes the materials lead me, trying to dictate and sometimes I take the lead. It is a dance that creates something out of nothing.”

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Tamara Osso

“My work is about an awareness of the body in space. Movement is a central theme in my process and is ever-present. The tactile act of painting allows this awareness to become actualized. I find dynamic form through painting derived from my daily rituals and movements. Painting is both a distancing mechanism as well as a proprioceptive experience. It assists me in reorganising the structure of things and helps me position myself in the world. The dancer in me revels in such an adaptive process like painting and my work seeks to translate moments of physical interaction, be they joyous, difficult, or mundane. I like how these moments can be suspended, extended, or revisited. They therefore subscribe to the notion that personal physical intimacy is valuable”.

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Tanya Bonello

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”.

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Tracy Payne

Tracy Payne is a visual artist and teacher working from her studio in Woodstock, Cape Town. She is also an avid gardener and anthophile, foraging endemic wildflower seed to re-wild her garden and the suburban surrounds.  Her interest in Eastern spirituality, sexuality and the dual nature of being are consistent threads in her work. Through her investigative tools, painting and drawing, Payne merges and blurs the divide between figuration and abstraction, freedom and bondage, sacred and profane.

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Vanessa Berlein

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.

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Yedidya Falkson

Born in 1996 in Johannesburg, South Africa, Yedidya began painting at age 14 at the Ricky Burnett Art School. In 2014, he matriculated from the Torah Academy High School. The following year, he participated in the “Art Jerusalem” gap year program, studying at the Betzalel School of Art (painting, sculpture, drawing.) and, at the same time, studying Philosophy Through Film at the Hebrew University.

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Current Exhibitions
Optimal Vibration Group Exhibition

04 March2023 -

Past Exhibitions
New Day Spring Group Exhibition

3 November 2022 – 22 January 2023

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Optimal Vibration Group Exhibition

Optimal Vibration Group Exhibition

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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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. 

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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”.

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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.

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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”.

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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.

 

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Current Exhibitions
Optimal Vibration Group Exhibition

04 March2023 -

Past Exhibitions
New Day Spring Group Exhibition

3 November 2022 – 22 January 2023

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New Day Spring Group Exhibition

New Day Spring Group Exhibition

Upcoming
New Day Spring Group Exhibition
3 November 2022 – 22 January 2023
Overview
Upcoming Exhibition:
Jennifer Morrison and Mary Visser
Featured Artwork

Jennifer Morrison

Jennifer Morrison was born in South Africa in 1971, it is here that she began her art studies, and later continued in London, where she graduated from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.

Morrison’s work deals predominantly with colour and shape and she uses these elements to explore juxtaposition, repetition, movement and rhythm. Although she has lived in London for two decades, the colours of South Africa have never left her and remain a central influence in her work.

Whether it is a plant or clouds or smudges on a wall, these can all serve as inspiration for her and act as a starting point for a painting. Morrison’s inspiration comes from the world around her and then it becomes something of its own. It is sifted through her memory and her imaginings.

Morrison is interested in weighing accident against deliberation, precision and control against playfulness and abandon. She plays with material, medium and form and through this, an ‘arrangement’ is made. She uses the word ‘arrangement’ to mean a state in which she finds the result to be pleasing in some way. She also means it in the sense that she’s come to some kind of arrangement with the painting itself. Her marks speak back to her and she replies until she feels that the conversation is over. Morrison has always been more interested in colour and shape and materials than in social or political or personal commentary or content. She likes the way that abstraction allows for ambiguity. She doesn’t need or want definitive answers or didactic explanations. Morrison prefers meaning, if it is found at all, to be open. Her work is subjectively driven and is guided largely by intuition.

When she paints she is in control of the process, up to a point. Morrison chooses to relinquish control at certain stages but she is ‘watching’ this process very carefully. She is in charge of the accidents to some extent and it’s this dance of chaos and control that intrigues her. The freedom is controlled. All of this has to happen with a lack of self-consciousness otherwise everything comes to a halt. This intersection of order and chaos endlessly fascinates the artist. With painting, as with other things, you’re always losing possibilities by the choices you make – to her this seems to be a very exciting thing.

Morrison has exhibited in group shows in London and New York and at various corporate venues. She has had solo exhibitions at the Arndean Gallery, Cork Street, and at the Coningsby Gallery in London. Her work is in private collection in South Africa, Singapore and London.

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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.

Painting is entertainment for me, so it’s got to be fun! I start with one mark or a set of delicious colours. This begins a conversation of sorts between myself and the canvas. This is super exciting and I’m thrilled by the possibilities. As I make decisions to keep this mark or obscure this shape, problems start to emerge. I try keep a cheerful attitude even when the painting starts looking terrible. At some point I I think ‘oooh yuck, ok great, nothing to lose now’. This gets me excited to try something completely different and risky in order to salvage the painting.

The varied experience of the everyday is the aesthetic filter through which I approach painting. I bring what I have in the moment as I meet the painting; torn magazine shards, photos, song lyrics, doodles, notes and sketches of street life, fragments of other artist’s paintings, Instagram glimpses, drawings and collages. I juxtapose and layer many disparate things much like thoughts, events and memories might be arranged in a dream.

In the safe solitude of the studio I find I can let go of traditional ideas of good painting and be free to explore my idea of visual delight.

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Current Exhibitions
Optimal Vibration Group Exhibition

04 March2023 -

Past Exhibitions
New Day Spring Group Exhibition

3 November 2022 – 22 January 2023

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Christine Dixie “The Astronomer, The Princess and the The Order of Things”

Christine Dixie “The Astronomer, The Princess and the The Order of Things”

Past Exhibition

Christine Dixie “The Astronomer, The Princess and the The Order of Things”

8 Spetember – 16 October 2022

Overview
When my daughter was five years old, the same age as Princess Margaret Theresa in the painting Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez, I became obsessed with the painting. Indeed it was because my daughter was the same age, and with her long, blond hair bore a passing resemblance to the princess, that this compulsion began.

The Astronomer, the Princess and The Order of Things is the latest response to this painting in an ongoing project that began ten years ago. The multi-media installation, To Be King (2014) which re-imagines the court of King Philip IV in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, was my first engagement. This was followed by the exhibition The Santiago Cross: Invisible Trade (2015). More recently the exhibition Blueprint for the DisOrder of Things (2022) features the princess as a conduit for both creativity and disorder.

The moving and insightful essay by Professor Bronwyn Law-Viljoen, ‘The Dog in the Night: Christine Dixie’s Blueprint for the DisOrder of Things’, is a response to the exhibition and also includes a reference to the latest body of work The Astronomer. It is these two bodies of work Blueprint for the Disorder of Things and The Astronomer which make up this most recent exhibition. The Astronomer consists of collages and cyanotypes, each of the characters that appear in the painting Las Meninas is given an alternative identity, an identity that is part fiction and part drawn from historical references.

In Velázquez,’s painting ‘otherness’ is highlighted in the figure of the macrocephalous dwarf Maribarbola. In many portraits of dynastic children throughout Europe, the royal child was deliberately placed against the figure of a dwarf, thereby emphasizing, and making visible the hereditary right of royal lineage.

In my re-vision, Maribarbola becomes an astronomer, the character who has far-sighted vision. Instead of her place on the periphery of the painting, her status is reconfigured by making her the title character to this series. She is the one character that can see beyond the hierarchical, restrictive, and constructed charade that lies at the heart of the court and by extension, humankind. It is the dwarf-astronomer Maribarbarola who, looking through her telescope at worlds beyond the scope of the earth-bound court, moves to the foreground in this latest exhibition, The Astronomer, the Princess, and The Order of Things.

Biography

Christine Dixie is an established South African artist, who has regularly exhibited in that country, the US and Europe. She is primarily a printmaker, but her art also finds expression through films or elaborate installations.

Her work challenges the ways gender roles have been historically conditioned by society, myths, and image-making. The manifestation of the colonial history that haunts the town of Makhanda, (the Eastern Cape city where she lives) has compelled her preoccupation with Europe’s legacy in Africa. Her practice and aesthetic rely on archival imagery and in-depth research.

Her work is included in national and international collections including The Iwalewahaus, Bayreuth, Germany, The New York Public Library, The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, The Standard Bank Gallery, The Johannesburg Art gallery, The Durban Art Gallery, the Iziko National Museum of South Africa, and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Museum of Art.

International group shows include Earth Matters: Earth as Material and Metaphor curated by Dr. Karen Milbourne (2007) and The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists curated by Simon Njami (2012), both of which opened at the Smithsonian Museum of African Art. Her installation To Be King was part of the Personal Structures exhibited at Palazzo Bembo in Venice (2017) and was shown at the International Festival at the Coronet Cinema in London and the Kaunas in Art Festival in Lithuania (2018) and the Iwalewahaus, Bayreuth, Germany (2022).

Recent exhibitions include, @ Bathurst St., Makhanda at the Gallery of the SARChi chair at the University of Johannesburg and her series of prints Harbouring Fanon at the Graham Contemporary Gallery (2022). Blueprint for the DisOrder of Things which Things opened in April 2022 at the Wits Art Museum is a body of work which continues themes that are linked to her To Be King installation and The Astronomer, The Princess, and The Order of Things.

Catalogue
Featured Artwork

Past Exhibitions

New Day Spring Group Exhibition

3 November 2022 – 22 January 2023

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Exhibition layout bottom

Summer Salon

Summer Salon

PAST Exhibition

Summer Salon
01.02.2022 – 30.04.2022
Overview
Graham Contemporary is a large, museumquality, industrial white cube space in one of South Africa’s premier luxury shopping centres. The gallery will exhibit a range of cutting-edge contemporary work across mediums, and will seek to showcase emerging as well as more established artistic talents, staging extensive thematised and conceptual group shows as well as solo exhibitions and projects.

The physical gallery space will be complemented by a substantial online exhibition and sales presence. This, our opening group show entitled ‘Summer Salon’, comprises a range of established and emerging artists across the mediums of painting, photography and sculpture.

Catalogue
Featured Artwork

Prudence Chimutuwah

Prudence Chimutuwah (B. 1989, Harare, Zimbabwe) is an emerging contemporary visual artist who paints and also works with collage, into which she builds traditional Zimbabwean fabrics and decommissioned currency. Her work mainly depicts women and the world they dominate or are subordinate to. She is inspired by her gender and how it adapts to the ever-changing socio-economic environment.

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Tafadzwa Tega

Tega (b.1985, Harare, Zimbabwe) was born into an artistic family, and has developed a signature style of colourful representational portraiture which depicts the everyday lives of black subjects, and probes themes of culture, religion, tradition and migration and displacement

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Taher Jaoui

Taher Jaoui was born in Tunis, Tunisia and currently lives and works between Paris and Berlin. Jaoui’s compositions are built on an intuitive and unconscious process. He uses different sources of inspiration, spanning from cartoon and graffiti-like drawings to Abstract Expressionism and Primitivism movements. Jaoui’s work joins together painting and drawing, abstraction and representation. Through a personal language in his compositions, he aims to stimulate the viewer’s feelings and imagination and let him build his own interpretation of the picture. He often composes with semifigurative elements, such as heads, legs, eyes or hands. He combines an aggressive use of color and texture with various combinations of oil, enamel, spray paint and charcoal on canvas. His work has been exhibited in various group and solo exhibitions across Europe, Africa and the USA.

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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, not just an idea or a take away message presented in a nice, clean package.

I enjoy peculiar juxtapositions, the work is meant to be jarring, unsettling and to create a sense of dissonance. It’s meant to be these things while at the same time drawing you in, holding your attention and giving 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, where meaning is fleeting and intangible. We make up fictions, myths, religions, narratives to create meaning and give a sense of order and stability to our lives and societies, but I see it as pure folly to hold onto any of these as absolute. 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 which have been shattered by the fragile, mutable realities we inhabit individually and collectively.

This is my intention 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, smart phones, porn, 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.