“The body of work presented in the exhibition “The Scent of Joss sticks” deals with the sense of nostalgic longing for a part of childhood that is long since past and that shall never again return. It is a wistfulness that nests deep in the soul and is stirred by certain light, music and of course the scent of joss sticks.
The images referenced are from photographs taken at my parents 10th wedding anniversary in 1971. We lived on a farm in Kiepersol, far from tarred roads and big city lights, and for the most part isolated from much of society. Parties were a time for reconnecting with the outside world and a coming together of friends from far away. What I remember best was the excitement within the preparation, and the arrival of a cast of characters who came from far away. Eccentric characters often, filled to the brim with stories of wayward lives and places I as a child could only imagine.
As children we would spy with fascination these wondrous characters, hide ‘neath tables and crawl out to dance, and nick cigarettes and sips of lost champagne. Scandals we would listen in on and in our ever-grow- ing imaginations, would invent entire lives for each character. And music…music played constantly. Songs of
a love so huge, my heart would swell and ebb in my childhood bed and tears would spill into my pillow as I fell in love over and over and over.
And for moments in time, the world was majestic, my parents, Queen and King of a fantastic court.
…and the scent of joss stick would fill the air.
The process of creating the body of work was for me a bittersweet one. Over the months my studio filled with people from that brilliant time of my life. My parents, larger than life, and some of their dearest friends in a ‘cracker-jack’ time of their lives, I could hear them laugh and their voices grew loud and resonant in my head. I remembered so very much, and within the process , I listened to the music that had soundtracked my childhood, and there came a chance to once again immerse myself within a time so precious that in moments I laughed out loud before realizing the thief of time and tears sprung.
The works I decided to present untrimmed, to allow the viewer to see the working marks staining the sides of the paper, this for me sym
-bolizes the reality of the now, juxtaposed with the romance of the paintings.
The use of the patterned background against which the characters are set, is suggestive of the opulence and sumptuousness of the time. The realities of their lives in retrospect, was very different to what my childish imagination had conjured up.
The drops of distressed wallpaper works are an expression of a time having past. Rooms now empty of the glorious characters that no longer revel within them. The distressing of the surface illustrates the crumbling and decay of time, and the suggestion of the pattern still evident, hints at the beauty of what once was.”