CHARTING

07/07/02016 – 28/08/2016

CURATED BY ANDREW LAMPRECHT

With an increasing focus on African Art around the world, Eclectica Contemporary aims to present a carefully selected and focused collection of art from the continent that interrogates the issues facing us in a globalized world. The art that Eclectica will show includes practices and materials familiar from art history but which push these boundaries and explore uncharted territories of representation, technique and theory.

Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Eclectica Contemporary sees itself as an African gallery with an international vision. We celebrate the diversity and depth of art making on our continent while aiming to contextualize this for a growing global market.

Our program of exhibitions includes a mix of solo shows by gallery artists alongside curated group shows. In addition, Eclectica Contemporary’s exhibition space has facilities for experimental, new media and project-based works.

 – Shamiela Tyer, Director

CHARTING

Featured in the Cape Times news!

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THE EXHIBITION

The word ‘charting’ carries several meanings in general usage. Perhaps the main meaning I had in mind in this exhibition is the idea of charting one’s route and the now rather rare use of the word to denote a map used at sea, marked with lines to guide a ship on its journey. The artists on this exhibition are all, individually, making a journey through their work and establishing a trajectory of their own, whether it be through the way they approach their media or in their subject matter, or indeed in both. Each artist is attempting to do something that has not been done with their media (paint, drawing or collage) in exactly this way before or expressing ideas and addressing issues that are surfacing now in the second decade of the twenty-first century with all its challenges and promises.

Another meaning of ‘charting’ is the idea of something on the rise, like a pop song heading up the charts. Recent decades have seen a reassessment and massive increase in the potentialities that painting and other two-dimensional media offer. In the later decades of the last century there were those critics who would have liked to consign such seemingly ‘outmoded’ forms of art-making to the metaphorical rubbish heap of art history. However painting and its related disciplines has seen a resurgence as new and astounding things have been done with it. Painting has unique possibilities to express emotion, meaning and to describe form that continues to be pushed to the limit.

Pauline Gütter’s deeply expressive portraits show an interrogation and analysis of her subjects that goes far beyond the mere making of marks on a surface. It is as if she has reached into the very depths of her subject’s souls and utilised their essence as the medium with which to portray them, rather than the oil paint that lies atop her canvas. Using a colour spectrum that is as unexpected as it effective, she seems to force personality (and often, I would suggest, the darker side of human nature) and emotion onto the canvas.

While a much calmer aspect seems to be apparent in Sepideh Mehraban’s works, they too seem to speak of a burden of history that is crying out to be expressed. Toeing the line between abstraction and representation, the to-and-fro between the familiar and the evocative or suggestive creates a dynamism that makes looking at her work thrilling. Drawing from her life in Iran and her practice in South Africa she uses grids (evoking the family album and the newspaper) to speak of interconnectedness and overlays and juxtaposes these with colour fields and swathes of complex marks, perhaps invoking a journey made or yet to come. Similarly the backgrounds of Asanda Kupa’s works seem to veer to the abstract but it is the confidence and skill with which these are placed in counterpoint to the human figures represented that give his work its complex and inviting layers of meaning and vibrancy. Ronald Muchatuta has used thick layers of paint to build up a narrative work that speaks of migration and the possibilities of freedom. It would appear his is a gesture of hope in the shadow of the threat of xenophobia and the ever-increasing tightening of borders globally.

By using materials and minerals that are sourced from mines, Jeannette Unite takes a hard look at the industry that has brought South Africa so much of its wealth and simultaneously caused so much devastation to people and the environment The human figure is very much present in Restone Maambo’s richly layered studies of form and anatomy. Using varying techniques and methods of collage, drawing and painting in each work he nevertheless manages to evoke a sense of harmony and balance that is, perhaps at the heart of subject he is portraying. While very different in execution, Loyiso Mkize’s canvasses also speak of a gravitas while being at pains to convey a stability and deep sense of pride in African identity. Though drawing on an almost surrealist artistic language, his work projects into the future while drawing on history and legacies of the past.

Benon Lutaaya uses fragments of paper to build up a portrait that is subtle and suggestive. It as if each torn swatch is akin to the mark made by a brush and the balance between the individual pieces of print and the resolved image is deft, confident and implies a desire to seek unity and wholeness in a world in which we are all, increasingly, becoming fragmented.

A commonality between all these artists, aside from their desire to technically innovate and ‘push the envelope’ is a deep concern for the human and the manner in which we may, perhaps, live our lives in a better way. The route they are charting, for me at least, is one that promises to open up new terrains and clear a path to better and greater experiences.

– Andrew Lamprecht, Curator

Pauline Gütter
selected works from the Shadow Barriers series.

(2014)

Sepideh Mehraban
Untitled II (Palimpsest)
(2016) Oil on Canvas
143,5 x 111,3 cm

Sepideh Mehraban
Untitled I (Palimpsest)
(2015) Mixed Media on Canvas
142,3 x 101 cm

Sepideh Mehraban
Retracing
(2015)
Mixed Media on Canvas
159 x 177,5 cm

Asanda Kupa
Children of the Coal
(2016)
Acrylic on Canvas
203,4 x 160 cm

Asanda Kupa
Pull Through
(2016)
Acrylic on Canvas
230,1 x 160 cm

Asanda Kupa
We Ready
(2016) Acrylic on Canvas l 233,5 x 160 cm

Ronald Muchatuta
A Disscussion about Freedom in the Dark.
2016
Oil on Canvas
91,5 x 91,5 cm

Jeannette Unite
Marikana Martyrs Xn
2016
Mixed Media on board
190 x 100 cm (Tryptych)

10% of sale donated towards the Marikana Widows’ Fund

In Marikana Martyrs Xn Jeannette Unite utilises platinum-group minerals and the glass disk from a miner’s helmet to create painting at a human-scale that powerfully evokes the absence of a human life. The inclusion of a yellow ‘x’ replicates the marker used to note the position of a gunned-down protester in the aftermath of the Marikana massacre.

Minerals used:

Miners glass for helmet, mixed mine material,
including platinum slag slimes pond tailings, diamondiferous sands, titanium, sulfur ultra-marine blue, yellow lead chromate which is part of the platinum group of minerals. Iron oxide, silicates, calcium carbonate from Dover stabilised in a polymer acrylic emulsion.

Jeannette Unite
Industrial Sublime 5 :
CRANE
(left)
2016
Archival Acrylic Emulsion on Canvas
190 x 120 cm

Jeanette Unite
Industrial Sublime 6 :
COPPER
(right)
2016
Archival Acrylic Emulsion on Canvas
190 x 120 cm

Restone Maambo
Looked at
2016
Pastel, Charcoal, Oil and newspaper on Canvas
152,2 x 51 cm

Restone Maambo
Casting a Fortune
2016
OIl, Plaster of Paris and newspaper on Canvas
122,3 x 91,5 cm

Restone Maambo
The Visitors from Mars
2016 Acrylic, OIl and newspaper on Canvas
100 x 150,4 cm

Pauline Gütter
Stream II
2015
Charcoal on Archers BFK Rives
120 x 72,3 cm (FRAMED)

Pauline Gütter
Disgrace II
2012 Oilbar and spray paint on Canvas
101,5 x 76,2 cm

Pauline Gütter
Disgrace VI
2012 Oilbar and spray paint on Canvas
101,5 x 76,2 cm

Benon Lutaaya
Mindful
Mixed Media on Canvas
140 x 118 cm (FRAMED)

ARTISTS’ BIOGRAPHIES

Sepideh Mehraban

Sepideh Mehraban is an Iranian-born artist, working and living in Cape Town. Her work explores memory and landscape, looking at the overlaying and veiling of paint as a means of expressing layers of existence and experience. She was born in Tehran and obtained her BA (2009) and MA (2011) from Alzahra University. In 2012, Mehraban worked on and was awarded a postgraduate diploma in Fine Art at Michaelis and has since also completed a second masters degree there. She has also worked as a set designer and collaborated on puppeteering projects. In her academic work, as well as in her personal projects there is sensitivity toward recent history in Iran, which she incorporates and explores through text, figurative works and abstraction, often drawing on the grid format of newspaper as a source of inspiration.

Loyiso Mkize

Loyiso Mkize is one of South Africa’s best known graphic novel and comic book illustrators, being one of the foremost contributors to the Sunday Times supplement SupaStrikers but turns to painting for creative expression and as an avenue for his personal, political and social commentary. The paintings often depict expressive faces, focusing his work in portraiture because of his fascination with skin, texture and the emotion that is conveyed through facial features – notions of the soul, the spirit and ultimately to illustrate his understandings of the true African experience in the contemporary art world. Mkize’s use of highly stylized and technically brilliant brushwork creates realistic imagery that leans toward the surreal with his decorative framing and imaginative illustration, adding multiple layers to each portrait with character references and the impression of self-awareness in each of his works.

Asanda Kupa

Asanda Kupa is a rising talent amongst South African painters. He was born in Molteno, in the Eastern Cape and has always been drawn to the illustrative arts. He began his higher studies in 2005, furthering his studies in 2008 and also has worked closely with fellow painter and acclaimed artist, Aleta Michelatos. Kupa has won numerous awards, throughout his study period and after, winning the Reinhold Cassirer Award in 2013. His expressive mark making and abstraction of the human form creates a vivid and moving body of work that seems to explore change, progression and alteration through the language of narrative painting in a uniquely abstract manner. Kupa’s gestural works command a great presence in each space they can be found and his investment of time, energy and emotion as well as immense skill becomes apparent.

Jeannette Unite

Jeannette Unite is a South African artist who works in a range of media, often utilizing minerals and by-products from the mining industry in her work, which takes as its major subject matter that industry and its historical and ecological legacy. Unite’s use of line and mark-making is visually intriguing, forcing the viewer to want to move around the work – forward and back to fully comprehend the work. Her works are haunting yet visually gorgeous, pushing ideas of materiality and texture in relation to her subject matter and to the medium of creating two-dimensional art.

Pauline Gütter

Pauline Gütter, was born in 1980 and is known for her large-scale realist paintings as well as installation, printmaking and drawing. She obtained her B.A. Degree in Fine Arts (cum laude for painting) at the University of the Free State. Visually challenging and technically masterful, her work considers ideas of figuration and identity, often elaborately detailing each facet of expression of the subject in each work she makes. In 2013, Gütter was awarded the Absa L’atelier award for her painting and has also been listed on the Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans award.

Restone Maambo

Restone Maambo was born in Zambia, in 1980. His work is about considering life experiences and the ways of artistically interpreting the world that surrounds him. His paintings often look back nostalgically to his childhood. Maambo was first interested in illustrations found in newspapers and comics at the age of 5. His passion for creativity and art lead him to move to Cape Town to study further and he was awarded numerous prizes whilst studying at Ruth Prowse. He graduated in 2008 and has since pursued his career, focusing on painting concerned with the human form and its presence in different environments.

Ronald Muchatuta

Ronald Muchatuta is a Zimbabwean-born contemporary artist currently residing in Cape Town, who specializes in drawing, painting and mosaic. He began his career at the age of 16 as a pottery decorator at Ros Byrne Pottery in Harare, Zimbabwe in 2001. After being mentored at Gallery Delta in Harare and finishing his fine art exams through National Gallery of Zimbabwe in 2003, he relocated to South Africa in 2007 to pursue a career as an artist. He is recognized as qualified Master Mosaic Artist at Spier Art Academy in Cape Town in which he undertook his studies from 2010-2012. His current body of work is inspired by the theme of migration in an African context. Previous artworks and special commissions are located in spaces of prestige around the globe. He has exhibited at the “African Art Fair 2015” Paris, France and The “UN–Milan Expo 2015 “representing Africa in Milan, Italy. Most recently in 2016 he has exhibited at the Gallery of the University of Stellenbosch including Michaelis Galleries at the University of Cape Town.

Benon Lutaaya

Born in Uganda, Benon Lutaaya is a Johannesburg-based visual artist. He holds a BFA with Education from Kyambogo University, Kampala. Although known for his contemporary paper collage portraiture work, he is equally adept dealing with other subjects and mediums. Unable to afford proper art supplies when he started out professionally in 2010, Benon improvised with recycled, found paper material gathered from streets to pursue his purpose as an artist. In 2011 he moved to South Africa courtesy of an international artist residency award by the Bag Factory Artists’ Studios, Johannesburg where he still holds a studio. Since then interest in his work has grown exponentially and he is recognised as one of the rising talents on the local art scene. Benon is a past winner of the Lovell Tranyr Art Trophy (2012), the Ithuba Arts Fund Grant (2011), and Finalist of the BBC MyWorld documentary global competition, London 2010.

THE CURATOR

Andrew Lamprecht

Andrew Lamprecht is a critic, curator and academic based at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. He has an active interest in contemporary art, with a special focus on art from South Africa and the continent more broadly. He has curated a number of exhibitions over the last decade and a half and publishes widely in the academic and popular press.

Gallery Director: Shamiela Tyer
Gallery Manager: Raynier Matthee
Gallery Assistant: Kirsten Arendse
Research and Artists’ Biographies: Clare Patrick
Catalogue Design and Additional Art Photography: Saara Millward
Installation: Dequ Matalatala

By | 2016-10-17T10:16:18+00:00 November 14th, 2015|Categories: Exhibitions, News|1 Comment