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SASA Outing to the National Gallery’s “Assessing Abstraction” Exhibition

 

 

 

 

 

On Tuesday 13 March, the group of SASA members who attended were privileged to have Hayden Proud, curator of the exhibition, showing us around “Assessing Abstraction” at the National Gallery.

He gave us the benefit of his vast knowledge of the history of art and especially pertaining to this particular exhibition. We were shown new ways of looking at abstraction and given a certain understanding, which allowed us to see what we might, without his guidance, otherwise have missed.

We learned that abstraction began, not in modern Europe – it’s usually accepted birthplace – but in the more ancient cultures of Africa, Australia and America, where the native people have always used non-representational mark-making in many different forms.

 

 

 

 

We were shown how abstract canvases became free from the square and abstract art, free from the canvas. Colour is often used just for colour’s sake, for the enjoyment and interpretation of both artist and viewer.

 

 

 

 

 

A wonderful morning. Thanks to Hayden Proud, for your time and knowledge and to Lynne Menge, for arranging it for us.

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SASA Visit to Zeitz MOCAA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you haven’t yet been, you really need to get there. A visit to the Zeitz MOCAA is an inspirational  experience – and free for SA citizens on Wednesday mornings, so don’t forget your ID.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The whole building is a sculpture in itself, from the enormous jewel-like windows on the outside, to the amazing forms and spaces carved out of the inside of the 100 year old grain silo. It must have been an extraordinary mind that envisioned this remarkable project.

The multi story, central atrium of the museum, from which the different gallery spaces lead, gives the feeling of a cathedral, with its high arches forming breathtaking shapes and shadows. Enough to keep you enthralled for hours before you even set eyes on the work on display.

The exhibitions extend over nine floors, in separate gallery spaces, including a rooftop sculpture garden, with a diverse selection of artworks and installations. You’d need a week to take in everything properly, but our members split into small groups and wandered through the rooms, absorbing as much as they could, in the time they had.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Lynne Menge, for organising this very exciting outing for us.

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Visit to the Donald Greig gallery and Foundry

On Thursday 8 June, we were treated to a personal tour of Donald Greig’s gallery and foundry in the Port of Cape Town. The reins of the whole venture are held in the most capable hands of Donald’s wife, Ali, who transformed an old port building into the marvelous gallery space it is today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The gallery, which is the showroom for Donald’s wonderful wildlife sculptures, is peaceful, light and welcoming and this is where we met to begin our tour, surrounded by the creatures of Africa.

Donald and Ali took us through the complex and time-consuming process of casting a piece in bronze, using the ancient “lost wax” technique. It takes about six weeks – and a team of skilled craftsmen – to produce a finished sculpture, from the first rubber mold, through the various coatings holding the form firm, to the pouring of the molten bronze and lastly, the patina, added with chemicals and heat, to enhance the character of the particular piece.

Thank you Donald and Ali, for a truly inspiring tour and Helen Van Stolk for arranging it for us.

 

 

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Dylan Lewis Studio Visit

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Our “studio visit” with Dylan Lewis on Friday 23 October was so much more than that. The lucky group who managed to book a place were treated to the most amazing artistic experience.

While waiting for the rest of the party to arrive, we explored his studio cum exhibition space in the most beautifully restored building in the Stellenbosch farmlands.

His circular studio alone, with its huge barn doors, which opened out onto a magnificent view of the property, was enough to turn us all green with envy. Every corner was a still-life, every window, a photo opportunity.

Dylan took us on a guided tour through his extensive sculpture garden, which he has formed himself over the past few years. From virtually flat farmland, he has created an undulating landscape of valleys and hills, ponds fed by lucky natural stprings and shady secret gardens and groves, inviting peaceful contemplation.

We were shown the huge pieces permanently installed in their magical surroundings and given an insight into Dylan’s journey to his work. His interest lies in the contrast between wilderness and “civilisation”, the wildness of the animal world – especially portrayed in the powerful big cats – and the wildness that is in us all.

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This piece of land of his is the transition between wild and civilised, with the organic  shapes of the surrounding mountains, echoed by the placement of each sculpture and geometric man made structures in direct contrast.

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Thank you Dylan, for a wonderful morning and thanks, Helen van Stolk, for arranging it all.

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Two new items for the weekend starting Friday

MEET THE ARTIST – FRANCES GOODMAN
Goodman Gallery Cape
3rd Floor Fairweather House
176 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock
Friday 13th November at 11:00
Members and Non-Members R20
Historically seen as criminal, or sinful, the idea of dependency as an illness is a recent one.  Frances Goodman’s exhibition Morbid Appetites takes its name from an antiquated term for addictions.  In keeping with her long-running interest in obsessions, this exhibition is an objective study in sound, text and sculpture of what happens to the human condition when a psychological line is crossed.  On their most basic level, Goodman’s pieces are a detailed examination of how contemporary society is able to transform harmless activities like eating, shopping and taking medicine into deadly vices.  More critically, her works

comment on the economic and cultural conditions that accelerate this perversion.

WALKABOUT OF SUBTLE THRESHOLDS
BY FRITHA LANGERMAN
Iziko South African Museum
Saturday 14th November at 15:00
Members R40, Non-Members R60, Students R20
Subtle Thresholds is primarily concerned with the visual representation of infectious disease, focusing particularly on its position as ‘different’, ‘outside’ and ‘other’, and noting that classifications and representations of disease are culturally as well as medically coded.  Combing elements of science, art and social history, Langerman presents a collaboration between disciplines that is rarely seen in South Africa.  She embraces a range of media:  using projection, sculptural and drawn elements, text and digital images as well as objects from museum collections.  Because Subtle Thresholds is concerned with the means through which images are seen (or not) and understood (or misunderstood), the exhibition makes use of devices that heighten vision: scopes, light, shadow and projections.
Subtle Thresholds manages to show potentially fearful items as objects of interest and beauty.  “Infectious diseases are caused by organisms which are as deserving of visual attention as any other species. The exhibition suggests that within an extremely complex biological system, humans represent a very small unit,” says Langerman.  She teaches printmaking and drawing at UCT and has curated and exhibited nationally and internationally.

Lizzie O’Hanlon
Secretary/Treasurer
Friends of the S A National Gallery
P O Box 2420
Cape Town
8000
Tel No:  021 467 4662
Fax No: 021 467 4680
Email:   sangfriends@iziko.org.za
http://www.iziko.or.za