Saturday, June 12, 2010

New Work at KBM: Zak Benjamin

The Kalk Bay Modern has recently acquired some exciting new work by the artist Zak Benjamin.
The etchings featured in this blog, now part of the KBM collection, are intricate depictions of the most ordinary household scenes, naturally occurring still lives. There is however, something delightfully quirky about them, elevating them far and above a simple study. Their humbleness is the basis for an extremely genuine quality that, to me, seems to stem from a deep love of life and shrewd sense of humour.
Born in 1951 in Pretoria, the son of a typical Afrikaans family, Zak Benjamin’s artistic and spiritual path has led him to struggle enormously with the social systems he grew up under. Though at one point a member of the Voortrekker movement and the Nationalist Party Youth Movement, his deep seated Christian values could not coexist with the policies of the Nationalist Government.
He dropped out of University and spent the next few years doing odd jobs and living in Europe before returning to South Africa and university where he did a BA in Fine Arts.
In the mid 1980’s Zak experienced a profound religious conversion that led to his friendship with sculptor Gert Swart. Together they have worked on many projects, continually working through what it means to be committed Christians and contemporary artists.
In 1991 Zak was able to start working as a full time artist. His work is varied in theme, some involving a personal iconography set in fantasy, whilst others look into the simplest aspects of everyday life and unearth their subtle poignancy. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mermaids and Mountains: Nicolaas Maritz

Mermaids and Mountains, an exhibition of paintings by Darling-based artist Nicolaas Maritz, will be opening this Wednesday June at the Kalk Bay Modern.
Maritz is a recognised South African artist whose work features in every major public and private collection in South Africa. His work is bold, brightly coloured and most often tongue-in-cheek – he finds humour to be a vital tool as an artist or ‘visual synthesizer’ and his 30 year career has allowed him to accumulate the rich and somewhat esoteric artistic code or language. Over the years these visual narratives have grown and multiplied in an organic manner enhancing the depth and complexity of his work.
He has worked with a variety of media but has a longstanding passion for enamel on board, often using simple house-paints as he did when experimenting in his parent’s garage when he was young. He has a particular fondness for certain traditional colours and has a deep interest and rich knowledge of their origins.
Maritz has been having annual studio exhibitions at the MSG, (MARITZ STUDIO GALLERY) in Darling since 1992. He won the NCSS CBC Notable Children's Trade Book Award (USA) in 1992 and the Parents' Choice Illustration Honor (USA) in 1994.  He has exhibited widely, including the Valparaiso Biennale and the Cape Town Triennials.