Leanne Boulter, Francios van Reenen and Tracey Lee-Lynch at artSPACE durban
by Francesca Verga
'Studio 8' is a collaborative venture between Cape Town-based painter Leanne Boulter, sculptor and new-media artist Francois van Reenen, and mixed media artist Tracey Lee-Lynch. The three share a studio space and as such chose to exhibit together at artSPACE durban.
The work on show varies not only in medium but in content and focus also. Upon entering the exhibition, one is confronted by Boulter's large paintings, all of which are painted in similar colours, and through these recurrent blues, pinks and browns, her works effectively echo one another thoughout the exhibition space. The solid, flat blue backgrounds create environments which serve to highlight the vulnerability of the pink-clothed female figures in each work.
Boulter's work here deals with social issues such as HIV/Aids and its effects on women and children. The works explore issues of isolation and despair, which are evoked by the figures' diminutive scale in relation to large empty spaces they occupy. One image depicts a child in the left foreground of the painting, lying on a platform of sorts covered in a pink blanket. This kind of imagery raises questions about the children that are orphaned by the disease. Some works include iconic imagery such as the dove, which acts as a symbol of peace and hope. Although the protagonists in Boulter's works are in most cases victims of their surroundings, she has placed them in serene environments, as a means of paying respect to her subjects.
Francois Van Reenen's works, on the other hand, provide welcome comic relief from the serious and contemplative nature of Boulter's. The cast jesmonite sculptures depict various characters, like the animated emotive dogs of Stoep Kakkertjie and Dog Walker which reflect moments of hilarity in any dog owner's life. Van Reenen's works are semi-autobiographical and are based largely on his experience of the everyday. The sculptures reflect his distinct take on popular culture and his humorous insight provides a visually delightful experience.
Acting almost as an adjunct to his sculptures, prints such His Mistresses Leg, Gimp Boy Pink and Couple are reminiscent of Bitterkomix images, similarly reflecting moments of absurdity, horror and wit.
Tracey Lee-Lynch presented a surprisingly small body of work. Layered textures created highly decorative works, but these were not as impressive as van Reenen and Boulter's offerings.
Opened: July 5
Closed: July 22
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