Exhibited: Johannesburg. Graham’s Fine Art Gallery. 16 July – 16 September 2009. “Imaging and Imagining: South African Art c.1896 – 2008”.
“Portrait de l’Afrique du Sud”: Paris, 30 October 2013 – 27 November 2013. An exhibition of artworks by George Hallett, Peter Clarkeand Gerard Sekoto.
Illustrated & Referenced: Graham’s Fine Art Gallery. 2009. Imaging and Imagining: South African Art c.1896 – 2008. Graham’s Fine Art Gallery, Johannesburg. p. 196 & 197.
In this enigmatic painting, a woman and child are picnicking on high dunes etched against a bright blue sky. The geometric stylization of the forms and the solid rendering of the background emphasize the pictorial flatness of the canvas in a style reminiscent of Picasso’s proto-Cubist works. While narrative details such as the basket with food and drink render the contents of the painting accessible and readable, the inclusion of an enigmatic white shape behind the reclining child enlivens the entire scene with mystery and suspense. Although the shape may be interpreted as a towel or a sheet flapping in the wind, its strong geometric nature and sharpness of focus draws the eye and keeps it engaged. Above all, the Arcadian calm of the scene is violently interrupted by this flapping apparition – a tantalizing device that might have been included to suggest the presence of a violent wind. The overall result is a vibrant painting, glowing with strong colour and a dynamic thrust of clashing diagonal planes. This contrast between idyllic subject matter and restless, almost violent, formal language makes for a particularly engaging and compelling painting.
by Lize van Robbroeck