I recently went away for a few weeks with a friend and her family. It was the first time I was able to spend close and safe time with her nephew since just after he was born. Entering the Time of Two, his vocabulary is bursting and stumbling forth; a frightening thing to have a […]
Our duo this week includes works of art by David Koloane and Paul Blomkamp.
Despite different methodologies of practice, the focus this week draws upon the comparable depictions of bustling spaces created by these artists – one a monotype and the other a drawing in charcoal.
The frenetic energy evident in both Mahlathini Street III and Highspeed Highveld high trip eleven is constructed by the strong and repetitive use of line; Paul Blomkamp’s furiously drawn lines in various colours and David Koloane’s lines in charcoal translating a strong visual sense of the heavy smog city dwellers know so well.
Highspeed Highveld high trip eleven utilises line, although frantic, in a uniform manner; the lines draw the eyes up-and-down, up-and-down in a repeated manner, somewhat reminiscent of the lights of cars and streetlights seen in late-night city watching. They lend a sense of the endless to and fro of lined up cars waiting for movement; the lines at the top a shorter, frenzied movement, working towards longer lines and a calmer movement at the bottom of the work. Utilised in a different way, the varied directional lines forcing the eyes to crisscross across the composition, Mahlathini Street III is a specific, contained site. The use of charcoal as medium softens and blends, creating a continuous sense of movement with short bursts of lines.
The two works of art in this duo, Anna Alcock’s Guardian Angel and Circular form by Cecil Skotnes, were chosen not only for their shared medium or their circular formation but also for the tenderness and softness of action that both evoke.
Skotnes was attracted to the iconographical challenge woodcutting posed and his first woodcut prints were of landscapes. Their impetus was natural form and his exploration of a landscape’s spatial conventions would later result in the incised figurative panels we have come to know as broadly representative of his work.
Circular form is unusual; it is not the incised panel as the object but it is also neither clearly figurative nor a conventional landscape. Its intriguing shape lies more in its ability to transform: it could be a forward folded form or, perhaps, a compressed landscape. When viewed alongside Anna Alcock’s Guardian Angel, it seems as though the forward-reaching, vertical lines of Skotnes’s circular form could unfold into the arms of the guardian in Alcock’s embracing figure; a continuous cycle of morphing from abstract form to representational form and back again- a cyclical process.
Both artists inspire a sense of spiritual mystery in their bodies of work- Skotnes developing an interest in religious archetypes and Alcock exploring mythology. I find it fascinating, having studied printmaking but having never worked with woodcuts, that a hardened material could be shaped so tenderly into images delicate and closely held by stark, incised lines and black ink, to make of the artists masters of stories from comparative mythologies.
Have you ever walked past a building and wondered what it was like inside? For some of us, walking down the street and looking at houses allows our imaginations to run wild; creating stories about the lives lived inside is a past-time. At first glance, it seems that these two images were captured on the […]
The choice of these two works is a reminder of the effect of irresponsible human activity on our planet. The contrast of John Muafangejo’s Adam and Eve allegory of an idyllic world where fauna and flora live in harmony comes in stark contrast with the destruction left behind, in 2003, by the tropical cyclone Japhet, […]