Main image: ‘#ZA On the Way’ by Deidre Maree
We chatted to Grace Kotze, Durban-based painter and founder of the new Loading Bay Gallery on Station Drive, about the KwaZulu-Natal-based artists that we should have on our radar right now.
The sorts of creatives that she responds to are those that, in her words, ‘hold strength of vision and are able to reflect on how the process of living adjusts and moulds their beings’. She believes the artists below all possess these qualities and the ability ‘to create on a profound and transformative level’.
‘Deidre Maree takes images from her life and transforms them through her complex mark-making technique, creating a detailed, dynamic surface. Her forms at times teeter on the abstract, where the marks shimmer in a varied field. Maree’s paintings are a testament to a space where her environment and emotions come together.’
‘Angela Buckland’s photography provides the viewer with a frank yet whimsical outlook on people who move through or inhabit her life. Although her images are a descriptive reflection on contemporary humanity, they are not purely documentational; rather, as with so many true artists, Buckland’s works reflect on how her subjects have touched her existence.’
‘Joseph Manana’s paintings tell stories where he weaves visual words that talk of moments and cultures that have shaped him and his vision. His detailed work makes for very compelling paintings that encourage viewers to read the faces and gestures of the figures in the artwork to understand a narrative.’
‘Melody French possesses the unique ability to create emotion out of very little descriptive form. Her paintings are evocative of landscapes, but they don’t possess the details that usually help artists create composition and form. French’s investigation of the nature of paint, tone and marks has enough complexity to result in paintings of great substance.’
‘Peter Rippon is one of South Africa’s most under-appreciated artists. His oil paintings manage to present the viewer with very structured, highly worked images that may be considered traditional but still carry a very contemporary and relevant message.’
‘Janet Solomon bravely takes hold of issues that are very pertinent to the endurance of humanity and our planet. She is highly skilled in both photography and painting, and uses this platform to re-introduce the viewer to familiar images through her interpretation. These brave works possess valued points of departure where the spectator is prompted to examine their role in the state of our planet.’
‘Dee Donaldson’s paintings have the ability to depict both the literal nature of images and the abstract nature of mark and form. Images are corroded by overlapping paint, inviting the viewer to read the paintings on multiple levels. These layered images allow Donaldson to saturate her works with her personal vision.’
‘Sarah Lovejoy’s sculptures are beautifully crafted, with an elegance of economy that holds both a stillness and emotional movement. Although the details have a contemporary stylisation, the sculptures’ forms and structure possess a dignity of the old masters.’
‘Elizabeth Balcomb’s sculptures hold an intriguing quality that speaks of stories from lost times that are revitalised through her vision and own personal story. Such eloquence of form allows the viewer to tack on their own stories, sharing in the valuable process of making sense of and drawing meaning from the work’.
Get your hands on our June 2016 issue to read more about Grace Kotze and her take on art.
It’s hard not to wonder what the great masters of abstract art would have to say about ingenious contemporary artist Zander Blom’s new solo show at the Stevenson gallery in Cape Town’s Woodstock. On until 9 April 2016, the New Paintings exhibition features a medley of striking compositions of form and colour that both pay tribute to and poke a little fun at the revered work of Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondrian.
Both artists have always greatly influenced Zander, who views the two greats as a yin-yang of opposing forces – Picasso being the spontaneous, wild sort and Mondrian the highly disciplined, serious kind – and worked to express this contrast in his latest paintings.
‘I felt the presence of such a duality of impulses inside of me,’ explains the young creative. ‘It went a bit like this: I stood in front of the canvas and had two voices in my head. The one told me to make something stripped-down, controlled, austere and clinical, while the other told me to make something raw, perverse, distorted and ridiculous. And so this tension came to underscore every choice I made in the studio’.
The result of this push-pull process is a series of captivating works that are one part wild, one part contained and controlled. There’s order in the sharp, clean edges of the carefully sculpted shapes but a touch of madness in their wacky forms and awkward placement. Similarly, there’s uni-dimensionality in the flat, primary coloured figures but depth in the marbling technique that Zander employed here and there and in the oil stains on the linen that act like drop shadows.
Interestingly enough, Zander claims that while creating each piece, he focused on the individual marks rather than the painting as a whole and the composition simply emerged from this process. Each work was also not produced from start to finish in isolation; instead, they all sat in the artist’s small studio together in their incomplete states and spoke to and influenced each other.
The idea for this series, like for many of the artist’s former projects, developed slowly and disjointedly and came from Zander’s willingness to be receptive to everything going on around him. As a man who’s obsessed with his craft, he’s permanently on the lookout for inspiration, drawing it from conversations, books, the Internet and life in general.
‘I think artists should be hoarders of ideas – however random or seemingly insignificant,’ he explains. ‘I’ve got open notebooks spread out around my studio like little laid traps, and I don’t ever leave the house without a small notebook and a pen in my back pocket. If I have a quick idea for a composition…I very quickly pin it down on paper for use at any time.’
So what sort of idea is brewing for his next project? Well, Zander explains that what’s coming is much less orderly, a manifestation of short bursts of energy with some dirt and grit thrown in the mix.
‘Basically I’m telling the Mondrian impulse in me to shut up and I’m letting some other voices have space in the conversation while I throw paint and stab at canvases with palette knives and sticks’.
Read more about Zander Blom over at the Stevenson gallery website.
Fill your home with a look inspired by Zander Blom’s work.