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Art exhibition: Three solo shows at Everard Read

Last night saw the opening of three solo shows at the Everard Read Johannesburg gallery: Carlo Gamberini's Star Gazers, Caryn Scrimgeour's Conundrum and Jeremy Houghton's In the Pink. The meandering gallery space is ideal for multiple exhibitions as each room holds its own identity, creating a diverse and unique experience for visitors. British artist Jeremy Houghton, who has been named one of the official Olympic artists for the London 2012 Games as well as official artist for London Fashion Week is showing a series of 'Flamingo' paintings. Houghton taught in South Africa for several years after his studies, and during this time he took a great interest in our wetlands and their pink flamingo populations. The emotive paintings 'form an emotional response on the part of Houghton, not merely to the extraordinary beauty of the natural phenomenon, but to the effect of industrial pollution and drought on the wetlands and its flamingo population,' says the gallery. Carlo Gamberini's bronze sculptures create a bold contrast to Houghton's work. Gamberini has worked with bronze for many years, having run the 'Vignali' foundry, which is one of the oldest in South Africa. He has worked closely with artists such as Kentridge, Villa, Van Wouw and Bell, but this is the first time he has publicly exhibited his own work. 'His hybrid animal and mechanical forms hint vaguely at the use of shape and form that can be seen in much of Picasso’s work,' says the gallery. The works are remarkable for both the technical skill they possess and for their humour and playfulness. Last, but definitely not least, viewers are treated to the hyper-real paintings of Caryn Scrimgeour's Conundrum collection. The bold paintings show aerial views of table settings painted with such skill and precision that the three-dimensional objects jump right out at you. A definite highlight of the show, these works are both skillfully executed and beautifully composed.  Viewers can easily relate to the everyday objects depicted, but for Scrimgeour they are deeply personal, as they are 'a personal reflection of occurrences and events which have had a significant impact in my life'. These three exhibitions, which are well worth a visit, will be on display until 3 March 2012. Everard Read Johannesburg, 6 Jellicoe Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg, 011-788-4805, everard-read.co.za   Text and images: Roberta Coci