To pull the edge of a thread. To unravel the cloth. To grab hold of something and walk with the eventuality it leads towards. Or away from.
The Edge of a Thread exhibition is a group show that wraps itself around and through any and all mediums, with artists weaving and winding through their own practice, stitched together within the Eclectica Contemporary gallery space.
Working with very different mediums within one space allows for a reconstruction of space according to relationships formed, rather than labels and categories demarcating experiences. With this group exhibition Eclectica Contemporary aims to create a space for conversation and the challenging of parameters within art and its demarcations in terms of medium, subject, history and context. This exhibition furthers the understanding of space by unravelling the taught cloths that hold up the notion of the white cube gallery space. A large and historical building disrupted and intersected by art interventions establishes the setting for the Edge of a Thread. The artists move and grow and shift the dialogue of expected contemporary art engagement by offering up work in conversation with bigger pictures and larger conversations.
Within this exhibition, a uniting feature that sews the works together is the manner in which each artist offers a personal narrative, an individual drive behind their intent to create. They each tackle the possibility of tugging at something that might unravel in any moment.
Thinking of this group exhibition as a kind of quilted blanket offers a way to unpack its ground rules. To elevate and communicate different understandings and perspectives in the same space while allowing energy and focus for each particular artwork. To pattern and piece together different modes of making to form a cohesive space and generate a kind of warmth that comes with inclusivity and openness. This exhibition and the artistswho participate in it offers up a kind of interaction that ruminates on the presence of a web that winds between all of us, pulling us closer and tighter, harkening us into the conversation in the hopes of widening the reach and possibilities for discussion.
Christopher James Chandler
Born in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape in 1992, Christopher James Chandler is an artist and photographer based in Cape Town. He aims to investigate the photographic medium while dealing with narrative, self and masculinity within the context of South Africa. Having recently completed his BAFA at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Christopher James has featured on numerous group shows around Cape Town and the rest of the country.
In 2017, Christopher James was awarded the Tierney Fellowship award, which is a prestigious mentorship and project-based photographic program. He has worked with Broomberg and Chanarin over the past year and recently assisted with installing their exhibition at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg. He has lived and worked in the UK and Germany and is currently on his way to Hamburg to begin his MFA at HFBK University of Fine Arts Hamburg.
Brett Charles Seiler
Brett Charles Seiler is a Zimbabwean-born mixed-media artist currently living and working in Cape Town. His work is strongly conceptual and explores complex themes such as love, loss and queer identity.
Since graduating from the Ruth Prowse School of Art in 2015, Brett has dedicated his time to organising experimental pop-up group exhibitions in empty spaces, while also taking part in numerous group shows. His pieces are often highly personal, revealing details of his life and engaging the viewer with expressions of universal emotions. Creating installation pieces and paintings, Brett’s art weaves figurative imagery and diaristic text inclusions to create work that is intimate and universal, treading the fine balance of work that conceptual art hinges on, he manages to create pieces that are accessible and engaging.
Michaelis Honors graduate, Tyra Naidoo is a Cape Town based artist who works across a variety of mediums. Her work was recently featured at the Adjective Online booth at Cape Town Art Fair 2018. Tyra has participated in various group shows, her favourite of which have been organized by social-justice orientated NGOs.
Tyra’s work deals largely with her heritage as an Indian South African woman. Using combinations of fragile and aggressive materials and processes, she aims to articulate a dialogue of subtle violences experienced as a marginalized body.
Kamila Bassioni is an Egyptian-Irish visual artist and freelance illustrator who wasborn in Dublin 1985. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Scenography from the Fine Arts College in Egypt in 2009. She has participated in several group exhibitions which include: Youth salon 22nd, 24th, 25th and the 28th , palace of arts; North and South group exhibition, Alexandria library 2015; Shifting borders, Baltic gallery of contemporary art 2016, Poland; The 7th international biennale for artist’s book, bibliotheca Alexandrina, 2016; From rags to riches exhibition, Sharjah children’s reading festival 2017; Artists of tomorrow exhibition, Arts mart gallery 2018. Kamila also participated in North and South project, Alexandria library, Egypt, 2015 and in an artist in residency project, Baltic gallery of Contemporary Art, Poland 2016. Kamila also makes illustrations for books and children’s magazines.
Her work considers displacement and home spaces through playful forms and muted colours. Working predominantly with paper, card and cutout textures, Kamila’s approach to making draws on collage techniques, paper dolls and sculptural creations, to narrate subtle, melancholy and yet politically loaded stories of her experiences. With the aim of opening up a space for critical engagement, the small scale mode of her work asks for a closer looking and a more intimate interaction.
18 x 18 cm
Sifiso Themba was born in 1989 and currently lives in Gauteng. Working as an artist and printmaker, Sifiso completed a 3 year program at the Artist Proof Studio for Professional Development. He also assists at the studio, teaching others and is a member of the Wang’Thola collective.
Sifiso works on paper, using print techniques and hand mark making. Exploring themes of crime across landscapes and areas, specifically in South Africa. Deeply concerned with the high rates of violent crimes, Sifiso investigates various scenarios on his page as a means of attempting to find solutions to the problems which affect so many.
Tyler Walker was born in 1995 in KZN. After moving to Cape Town in 2014, his career has already spanned across all realms of photography and has taken him around the world, from Ireland to Hawaii, to Australia and back to the Dungeons waves of Hout Bay.
Tyler’s photography moves beyond the immediacy of contemporary digital photography. Instead, using slow shutter speeds and waiting for just the right moment, Tyler creates expansive colour-scapes that reach beyond the frame. Inspired by the sea and his love of surfing, the images created offer a window into a soft relationship of exploration, excitement and care.
Alex Coetzee is an architect and artist practising in Cape Town. He completed his Masters degree in Architecture from UCT in 2015 and in 2017, attended the Michaelis School of Fine Art to complete a post-graduate diploma in printmaking. He has since featured in a few group exhibitions and presented a talk at the Iziko South African National Art Gallery.
His artwork extends the practice of spatial representation which he engages with as an architect. Working between digital and analogue mediums in a highly fluid way, he explores the translation of spatial experience into images in ways that extend beyond the optic and static. He often begins his working process with a simple physical act such as a walk outside of the studio; slowly this physical experience translates itself into an image which— like the act of walking as opposed to sitting still—embodies qualities of an expanded spatial and temporal field.
Adrian Ranger was born in 1994 to an artist mom and an environmentalist dad. She grew up around South Africa and moved to Cape Town in 2014 to study at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT. Adrian is a recent graduate, having majored in print making. Her work ranges from large scale to the minute – across varying mediums of mark making. Adrian has exhibited around Cape Town in group exhi- bitions and has sold work to private collectors.
Thematically, her work focuses on unpacking her own position and identity in South Africa as a child born in 1994. The accessing of her work is though exploring different modes of viewing the past in order to better understand it. Through the body of work presented in this exhibition, Adrian endeavored to locate herself within the history that represents her.
Joshua Williams was born in 1991 in Cape Town, South Africa where he continues to live and work. He completed a BA in Fine Arts (2013) at Michaelis school of Fine Art, University of Cape Town and recently completed his Masters of Fine Arts (2018) at the same institution.
Williams trained as a sculptor during studies, however his works are interdisciplinary, between sculpture and painting. Central to his practice and research is how space is defined through architecture and shifts over time due to the political, social and cultural implications on those who occupy and experience those spaces.
In this particular triptych titled Recalling taken from his master’s work, Williams is interested in time and memory. Rust and used motor oil are residues that begin to embody and evoke a sense of time. Painting with residues is conceptual framework for conveying time. When recalling a memory, after closing one’s eyes, the initial image is darkness while the memory is being recalled. Recalling through one’s eyes while the mind recalls the images become the basis of the work Recalling.
Thina Dube was born in 1993 and is a graduate of the University of Johannesburg. He taught at the National School of the Arts from 2016 to 2017 and currently works as an art therapist at Casa do Sol, a school for children with special needs. Based at August House in Johannesburg, where he works with Guns & Rain, Thina has exhibited in multiple group shows, as well as the Turbine Art Fair.
Thina’s work explores the politics of language in South Africa. Creating works on his own handmade paper, Thina explores identity and the individual in relation to languages spoken. His work often considers the complexities of English as a dominant and manipulating language. Using silhouettes, reminiscent of Victorian locket portraiture, Thina harnesses visual discourse as a means of reclaiming identity and growth through the juxtaposition of forms and faces in black and white.
2018 Solo Exhibition (forthcoming), Guns & Rain, Johannesburg
2018 Residency, First Floor Gallery Harare
2018 The Last Harvest, Solo Exhibition, Stellenbosch Museum, Cape Town
2018 Talking to Deaf Ears, Group Exhibition, ABSA Gallery, Johannesburg
2017 Salon, Group Exhibition, AVA Gallery, Cape Town
2017 Partnership Editions, AKAA Art Fair, Paris
2017 Facing Fanagalo, Solo Exhibition, Guns & Rain and National School of the Arts, Johannesburg
2016 Group Exhibition, International AIDS Conference, Durban
2016 Reconnect, Group Exhibition, Eyethu Gallery
2016 Guns & Rain, Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg
2015 Group exhibition, a collaboration with Ka’plan, Constitution Hill, Johannesburg
Born in Pretoria in 1995, Ofentse grew up between Pretoria, Johannesburg and Krugersdorp. Currently in the process of completing his visual arts degree at the University of Johannesburg, Ofentse has taken a year off from his studies to work independently from his own studio, having previously worked at Joburg’s August House. He has participated on a number of prominent group exhibitions, including the recent ‘Talking to Deaf Ears’ at the Absa Art Gallery. He is currently part of the Assemblage Studio’s ‘Emerging Artists Programme’ and will be presenting work at this year’s Turbine Art Fair in July.
Largely politically motivated, his work explores collage, painting and drawing to articulate concepts of both global and local politics. He recalls listening to his uncles discussing politics as he grew up and recognizes the importance of continuing the conversation in contemporary discourse and sees art as one way of making these conversations more accessible.
Luami Calitz graduated with a BA Fine Art from Stellenbosch University in 2012. She now lives and works in Cape Town, working in a shared artist studio space.
Working across the mediums of drawing, textile and illustration, Luami’s work are whimsical, playful and mythical. They offer a window into a similar but more brightly coloured reality of certain instances. Her work is inspired by Science Fiction, medieval art and sartorial Instagram accounts. Often narrating tongue-in-cheek events through a sarcastic and cynical lens, Luami’s creations herald the notion of Strong Womxn while also allowing for an appreciation of those who are still trying to figure it all out.
Lunga Nitla is currently living and studying in Pretoria. Her work as a photographic creative has seen her featured in various publications and online platforms. Her images evoke emotion and tensions through clever pairings and juxtapositions – of colour, images and shapes.
Lunga explores various avenues of visual storytelling in her photographic creations, where she uses herself as her main subject. Lunga’s work challenges traditional concepts of beauty, both in terms of contemporary standards and historically by confronting imagery that exists in the canon and distorting it. As such, Lunga challenges both modern-day patriarchy and historical notions of value and worth around bodies and identities.
Jacques Dhont was born in the Congo in 1959. His parents moved to South Africa in 1967 and settled in Somerset-West. After studying painting at the University of Stellenbosch, he completed a double major in painting and sculpture at the Michaelis School of Fine Art (UCT) in 1989.
Soon after completing his degree, Jacques moved to the Overberg region where he could work close to nature, living in abandoned farm houses without electricity or running water. It was here that he first started experimenting with the creation of sculptures using woven wattle bark. (The black wattle is an alien and invasive tree species which used to grow in forests on the banks of the Riviersonderend.) Jacques mastered the weaving technique and developed what is now his signature aesthetic – combining bark, brass, bronze and recreated found objects to create sculptural figures. Jacques has also been experimenting with new media, particularly stone and bronze.
For the past couple years Jacques has been living within the beautiful Klein Drakenstein Mountains in Paarl, where he is learning to juggle his art and helping to care for his lively young children.