Archive: Issue No. 115, March 2007

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04.03.07 Robert Hodgins at the Goodman Gallery
04.03.07 Minnette Vári at Goodman Gallery
04.03.07 Jacques Coetzer at The Johannesburg Art Gallery
04.03.07 Kevin Mackintosh at Obert Contemporary
04.03.07 Connor Cullinan at Obert Contemporary
04.03.07 Paul Edmunds at Art on Paper
04.03.07 'The Moving Art Image Exhibition' at the University of Johannesburg Art Gallery
04.03.07 'Exhibition of Indigenous Art of Young Artists' at the National School of the Arts
04.03.07 Hans Foster at Rainforest Project Room @gordart Gallery
04.03.07 Bruce Backhouse at David Krut Arts Resource

04.02.07 'Prints and Multiples IV' at Warren Siebrits Modern and Contemporary
04.02.07 Nathaniel Stern at Art on Paper Gallery
04.02.07 Santu Mofokeng at the Standard Bank Gallery
04.02.07 Various exhibitions at the Pretoria Art Museum


Robert Hodgins

Robert Hodgins
What's news on the Rialto, Antonio? 2006
oil over Indian ink
60 x 60cm

Robert Hodgins at the Goodman Gallery

This month, one of the most significant and consistently good painters in South Africa, Robert Hodgins, returns to the Goodman for another showing of recent work. Shifting away from his perennial interests in humour and satire, Hodgins delves into the darker side of humanity with this show, using legends around the 1368 Battle of Cascina in Italy to reflect on contemporary situations of war, terror and torture.

Working in oil on canvas as well as in monoprint, Hodgins considers the cyclic nature of war and terror. His exposure of today's war heroes reveals them to be as feintly ridiculous as yesterday's. This body of work oscillates between depictions of the humiliation of humanity, and a more traditional use of portraiture, using a series of 'Giants' to explore the way in which portraiture is used to turn people into icons.

Opens: March 17
Closes: April 14

Minnette Vári

Vigil 2007
production still from digital video installation

Minnette Vári at Goodman Gallery

Minnette Vári is showing a new body of work at the Goodman Gallery this month. It is the first new work the artist has shown in two years.

On show are two new video pieces, the medium in which Vári has garnered her considerable international reputation. There are also works in two new photo series, a form which the artist used with great success in 2004's Riverrun. Finally, a series of more introspective and personal drawings will be on show.

Most of the work is drawn together conceptually by Vári's pursuit in recent years of the building of an imaginary and allegorical cartography. In previous video work, in particular The Calling and most recently the video work composed from the still images of Riverrun, Vári has imagined mutating urban landscapes, imbued with the foreboding and compellingly melancholy weight of their own histories.

In the new exhibition the artist draws not only on the cityscape, but on a wider notion of a mapping of imagined locations, a series of cartographical fantasies which allegorise both our sense of belonging to a place, and our unconscious unease with the meanings that places bring with them.

Opens: February 17
Closes: March 10

Jacques Coetzer

Jacques Coetzer
Forever Young 2006
found object, bolted to the floor
110 x 140 x 80cm

Jacques Coetzer at The Johannesburg Art Gallery

In 'Alt Pop' Jacques Coetzer presents a show inspired by doubt, faith and survival in the middle lane at the Johannesburg Art Gallery's Project Room. Coetzer mixes punk, politics and pop to create razor-sharp rebellious critiques of contemporary South African culture. The work on show spans multiple disciplines and media, from sculpture and painting to found objects and performance.

The show has had a highly successful run at Bell-Roberts Contemporary in Cape Town, and is destined for Platform in Pretoria after its run at the JAG.

Opens: February 9
Closes: March 25

Kevin Mackintosh

Kevin Mackintosh
Untitled 2006
pigment print on cotton paper
112 x 136cm

'Kevin Mackintosh at Obert Contemporary

'Bolshoi Swans and Lions' comprises photographs of the Bolshoi Ballet Company and Theatre in Moscow, Russia. The works on show form the last document of the theatre's 250-year history. World-renowned photographer Kevin Mackintosh and his creative team were granted unprecedented access to the company and created this unique series of lyrical images.

Opens: February 15
Closes: March 4

Connor Cullinan

Connor Cullinan
Mrs Huckleby 2006
acrylic on canvas
800 x 800mm

Connor Cullinan at Obert Contemporary

'River of January: creation and procreation', an exhibition of paintings by Connor Cullinan, opens at Obert Contemporary on March 1. Says the artist, 'The title is an English translation of Rio de Janeiro (Rio was "discovered" on January 1, 1502). I chose this title because it suggests a source and because it refers to the Brazilian influence in my work. I set out to find an intersection between abstraction and naturalism and my efforts to unite the two apparent opposites seemed to be a dim reflection of what alchemists aimed to achieve. The climax of the alchemical Work is a cosmic sex act between heaven and earth - a union of opposites.

In my paintings, I have constructed fairly naturalistic images from small abstract units, such as lines and patterns. Since patterns appear to self-replicate, they seem to be the perfect vehicle for expressing a (pro)creative force. Patterns are often composed of decorative elements representing flowers, fruit, seeds, birds and insects, all highly suggestive of procreation. I find it both interesting and funny how cosmic events (heaven meets earth) and more prosaic procreative acts (boy meets girl), mirror one other and my paintings are meant to be read with this in mind'.

Cullinan's last solo show was cancelled after all the works were stolen in transit from Italy to the UK just two weeks before it was due to open at London's Gallery 125. He studied Fine Art at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg and Technikon Natal. He currently lectures Visual Communication at AAA School of Advertising, Cape Town.

Opens: March 1
Closes: March 10

Paul Edmunds

Paul Edmunds
Fan 2006
1500 x 1100mm

Paul Edmunds at Art on Paper

Paul Edmunds' new body of work Array comprises a large lino cut, a blind embossing and several sculptures made mostly from PVC-insulated wire. These works continue Edmunds' exploration of materials, process and pattern in a series of structures which reference a variety of objects and systems, from growth configurations to networks and grids. The juxtaposition of simplicity and complexity gives rise to works that are rich, dense and layered. Edmunds has been living and working in Cape Town for 10 years where he is represented by the João Ferreira Gallery. His work is to be found in many private and public collections including the Durban Art Gallery, Iziko South African National Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Recent commissions include one at the Arabella Sheraton Hotel in Cape Town, another at MTN�s Head Office in Johannesburg and two projects completed with Qalo/Coeo, a Cape Town-based beadworking project. Edmunds� writing and art criticism have been published widely.

Opens: March 3
Closes: March 24

'The Moving Art Image Exhibition' at the University of Johannesburg Art Gallery

'The Moving Art Image Exhibition' is a show of work concerned with moving images. The aim of this show is to expose the public to work which falls outside the commercial application of the moving image, and is therefore rarely seen, and also to create a starting point and a database of artists working in film-related media and disciplines.

The rapid progress of moving image technology has had, as one result, a widening of access to media that were previously unaffordable to artists. The expressive potentials of these new media are enormous, and art galleries are rapidly trying to meet the display demands of these new technologies. While installation video seems to be the dominant form of moving image art today, the focus of this exhibition is single channel work. This form is much closer in presentation to the conventional idea of television: a video is screened, projected or shown as a single image.

The thematic and technical scope of the exhibition is wide - from works of a narrative nature which therefore border on the conventional use of video and film to tell a story, to contemplative pieces that explore images and combinations of images in a formal and abstract way. A variety of media and styles, from the traditional to the digital, is employed - from hand-held camera to computer-generated imagery, from one-take narrative to stop-motion animation.

Time becomes a central issue in this show: though approaches vary, all are time-consuming. Time is also integral to the viewing and experiencing of these works: the formal and conceptual densities of work on this show demand more than a superficial flit-through.

The participants include Charles Badenhorst, Olaf Bisschoff, Rudolf Buitendach, Fopspeen, Robert Hamblin, Thabang Lehobye, Nathani Lüneburg, Michael Matthews, Anthony Silvertone, katty vandenberghe and Strijdom van der Merwe. The show is curated by Diek Grobler and Annali Dempsey, and digitally compiled by katty vandenberghe.

Opens: February 21
Closes: March 22

'Exhibition of Indigenous Art of Young Artists' at the National School of the Arts

The National Heritage Council has facilitated a cultural exchange programme for young unemployed artists from disadvantaged backgrounds. The objectives of the project were to capacitate young artists in order to create work that depicts the heritage and culture of South Africans, and also to create income opportunities for young artists. Furthermore, the programme aimed to equip the young artists with skills, and to provide indigenous and inexpensive but innovative ways of producing fine art.

Nine artists representing the nine provinces received three months of training on 'indigenous art' by acclaimed Ethiopian artist, Captain Lemma Guya of the Africa Art Museum in Ethiopia. Now the artists have returned, and the NHC is coordinating an exhibition in partnership with the National School of the Arts. The show comprise 30 portraits, and the public is invited to view the fruits of these young artists' labour for one day only. The event will be attended by numerous dignitaries from within the world of Arts and Culture.

Open: Friday March 9

Hans Foster

Hans Foster
Grapes of Wrath 2006
mixed media
installation, dimensions variable

Hans Foster at Rainforest Project Room @gordart Gallery

In late February, gordart Gallery relaunched its Rainforest Project Room in the gallery's new venue. The first show is an installation entitled 'Grapes of Wrath' by recent graduate of the University of Johannesburg, Hans Foster.

Foster's evocative work explores the history of a mixed race family whose past is intertwined with the South African wine industry. The work is described as 'charming and witty, yet at the same time sad and poignant'. The work on show is masterfully crafted from a single piece of grape vine.

Opens: Feb 21
Closes: March 4

Bruce Backhouse

Bruce Backhouse
The Great Cambdeboo ballroom 2006
51 x 78cm

Bruce Backhouse at David Krut Arts Resource

Bruce Backhouse has had an interesting involvement with the world of visual arts. Having completed two years of a Fine Arts degree at Rhodes University many years ago, he left to pursue a career in advertising. He remained there for 25 years, finally returning to fine art four years ago, once more taking up his ambition to be a painter.

This show sees Backhouse adapting his signature painting style of loose yet cartoon-like images for the medium of monotypes. Excited by the intensity of colour achievable within the process, Backhouse produced this series of landscape images in collaboration with David Krut Print Workshop. The works function to uplift the viewer, rather than deliver any overly profound messages.

Opens: March 17
Closes: April 21

Walter Battiss

Walter Battiss (1906-1982)
An Eye in the Mouth 1978
silkscreen on paper
90 x 64cm

'Prints and Multiples IV' at Warren Siebrits Modern and Contemporary

Warren Siebrits' first show of 2007 is the fourth installment in his 'Prints and Multiples' series. The show comprises 50 'rare and historically significant' prints, and as is the norm with Siebrits' curated shows, there are special moments, like some interesting works by the likes of Walter Battiss and William Kentridge.

Once again Siebrits follows an historical trajectory, with the earliest print on show by Selby Mvusi from 1955, lending the show a temporal and conceptual depth. Yet it is work from Rorke's Drift that forms the backbone of the show, with works by John Muafangejo, Caiphas Nxumalo, Dan Rakgoathe, Vuminkosi Zulu and Cyprian Shilakoe. Even the Battiss work relates: he was known to have visited Rorke's Drift in the mid-70s, establishing a connection with the artists and the spirit of the place, purchasing many works there both for himself and for the UNISA Art Gallery.

Elsewhere, the show traces the compelling presence of Durant Sihlali on the SA art scene over the last three decades. In his press release Siebrits defines Sihlali's approach as a counterpoint to the rural context in which the Rorke's Drift works were produced, with his focus squarely on township realities. The show explores Sihlali's preference for the medium of monotype, a process which for him shared numerous formal affinities with watercolour. Also on show are four etchings dealing with various subjects.

Opens: January 25
Closes: March 9

Nathaniel Stern

Nathaniel Stern
Nude descension II 2006
digital print on polyester plate, monotype
58 x 32cm

Nathaniel Stern at Art on Paper Gallery

Nathaniel Stern presents a show of digital and handmade prints at Art on Paper Gallery this month. Entitled 'Call and Response: Performative Prints and Iterations', the show is to be opened by Professor Jane Taylor.

Opens: January 27
Closes: February 24

Santu Mofokeng

Santu Mofokeng
Limbless doll, Jakkalsfontien 1989
fibre-based silver print

Santu Mofokeng at the Standard Bank Gallery

This month Santu Mofokeng is the subject of a survey show at the Standard Bank Gallery entitled 'Invoice'. Mofokeng holds a position as one of the most iconic figures in recent South African history, and as such this is an important show. The exhibition consists of images from almost all of his major series from 1982 to 2006.

Mofokeng's involvement with the Afrapix collective inevitably meant that his work is associated with political upheaval and resistance to apartheid. However, his work bears a more nuanced quality than the overt reportage favoured by many of his Afrapix colleagues. Instead, as the press release for this exhibition states, 'he shaped instead� a broader story about urban black life under apartheid.'

In recent years his work has shown an interest in landscape, and the works on this show reveal that he has not restricted himself to the South African landscape. Images from Auschwitz, Hanoi and a Free State concentration camp 'for natives'. Mofokeng's intention with this series is to 'explore the banality of horror'.

'Invoice' has been realised through partnerships with Autograph ABP and Gallery MOMO. Autograph ABP is an international, non profit-making photographic arts agency established in the United Kingdom in 1988 to address the lack of representation for a constituency of photographers which has historically been ignored. Autograph develops, exhibits and publishes the work of photographers from culturally diverse backgrounds and advocates their inclusion in all areas of exhibition, publishing, education and commerce in the visual arts.

Opens: January 30
Closes: March 17

New exhibitions at the Pretoria Art Museum

The Pretoria Art Museum is holding a number of shows in its various halls during this year. Until February this year is a 'Showcase of South African Art', with work arranged under the themes of portraiture, animals, interiors and landscapes. Works in various media form part of this show.

Also up, this time in the Albert Werth Hall, is an exhibition entitled 'Favourites from the Permanent Collection', catering to the varied tastes of the museum's visitors over the years. This show stays up until April 2007.

In the Henry Preiss Hall until May this year is a show of works from the Lady Michaelis Bequest. These works, donated in the 1930s, initially formed the core of the museum's permanent collection.

Until December this year is an exhibition of works from the museum's permanent collection under the title 'A Story of African Art'. The show tells 'a brief story of South African art from the time of the first San artists', including images from early 20th century painters, works from the period of Resistance art and 21st century contemporary works. This takes place in the museum's South Gallery.

Adding depth to this wide range of exhibitions is the travelling solo show by Andries Gouws, entitled 'Hiding Behind Simple Things', up until March 25. Gouws, an established Durban-based painter, lends an esoteric air to simple, everyday objects through the use of sensitive, highly considered lighting, a là Jan Vermeer.