Angela will be giving us a guided tour of the painting storage area, as well as the conservation and restoration areas of the SA National Gallery. See the latest SASA newsletter for details.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thank you Dylan, for a wonderful morning and thanks, Helen van Stolk, for arranging it all.
comment on the economic and cultural conditions that accelerate this perversion.
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