Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Featured Artists: Domestic Departures

Today we will be sharing artist statements and titles of their work featuring in Domestic Departures.

Cathy Abraham - Through the Living Glass

Artist's statement:
Glass shaped mirror templates with lipstick traces of plants domestic and wild: garden plants lavender, cut flowers and fynbos on the mountain. The mirror shapes I chose are those that I inherited as is the wine from my childhood home.  I am fascinated by inheritance and the shadows and light it brings to my life.  Not only that which is physically inherited but the legacy of ancestors and their belief systems, projected or contrived.   My mother and grandmother both married at 18 in lavish wedding ceremonies at the same synagogue I was married in one in 1937 and one in 1957.  Their weddings were both society affairs and their marriages both public property which masked their various secrets and hidden stories. Cut flowers bought as a gift, plants planted in a domesticated garden or those that grow wildly, all carry their own stories.

The institution of marriage, the structure of the natural world and the reflective power and symbolic gaze of the ‘looking glass’ are all inextricably linked by their individual systems and boundaries whether they are the  natural order of things, human nature or the pressure of society. There are distinct powerful parallel worlds at play whether obvious or hidden, desired or detested.

Who Can Find, 2012, Wine and mixed media on canvas (74 x 56cm)
She gets up while it is still night, 2012, Lipstick and wine on paper (74 x 56cm)

Nicola Bailey - Art History Intervention

Artist's statement:
For the Domestic Departures theme, I have created a set of postcards, using great works of art in Art History, but departing from the original meaning of the artwork by intervening in a playful way. The work questions how we view well known art over time and whether we notice if there has been an intervention, and how well we know these works. The work focuses on the passive role of the muse, the fact that these male artists worked from female models to create art for men to look at.  By intervening I hope to remind the viewer of the woman behind the muse. The series of postcards is inexpensive and easily accessible, challenging the idea of only the art elite having access to art as well as the definition of what is art.

Fourth World:
The medium is ink wash and collage on cotton paper. This is a series of works which questions the idea of different parts of the world categorised by  the labels "First " and "Third world", and the sub populations socially excluded, hunter- gatherers, nomadic, pastoral and some subsistence farming peoples living beyond the modern industrial norm. The term originated with a remark by Mbuto Milando, first secretary of the Tanzanian High Commission, in conversation with George Manuel, Chief of the National Indian Brotherhood of Canada. Milando stated, "When Native peoples come into their own, on the basis of their own cultures and traditions, that will be the Fourth World."

The Art History Intervention Postcard Series:
"shop gifting" is a process I have just begun. I place the postcards alongside real Art History postcards in Museum Shops with the intention of "shop gifting" instead of "shop lifting" as a humorous intervention that involves the shoppers and whether they will notice the intervention or not. So far I have placed postcards in the Museum of Modern Art Shop in New York City and will continue to document this process.

Art History Intervention Series 2, The Rokeby Venus, 1647-51 by Diego Velazquez,La Maja Desnuda, 1800-05 by Francisco Goya 
Art History Intervention Series I, A Woman bathing in a stream
(Hendrickje Stoffels?)
, 1654 by Rembrandt

Mary Anne Botha - Ordering Things

Artist's statement:
Standing stirring the morning pot of oatmeal, my eyes rest on the sardine tin alongside the cooking hob. It holds the detritus of everyday domestic endeavor – from broken cup handles and useful twists of string, to plastic date-stamped tokens that are at first used to peg plastic bags of sliced bread, and then serve as coupons to be handed on for a good cause,

We live with others' need and a willingness to do the right thing by others. We live with clutter and the aspiration to live in a simple way, where grace can glimmer along with clean glasses on the dinner table. We live with numbing detail and the capacity/heart to hold a big view of our place in the human/social and natural environment. And if, as a painter I pay attention to these seemingly random things, could they become talismans, objects endowed with magic virtue?

Ordering Things, 2012, Mixed media on paper (51 x 73cm)

Christina Bryer - Assorted Biscuits

Chrisyina Bryer continues her ‘domestic’ porcelain art in a long tradition of objects that straddle both the kitchen and art gallery. Assorted Biscuits play with superficially playful linguistic memes, which harbour darker undertones of the kind that would play out in a therapist’s consulting room. The stacks which have their ‘innocent’ origins in piping and icing bags become unstable ziggurats with a monumentality which belie their actual size. It is impossible not to imagine them on a mountainous scale. Again, a title like “The Pink Princess” is both seductive and filled with unease. Her porcelain wall plates are well-known and evoke a timelessness closer to snowflakes than kitchen interiors.

Assorted Biscuits / Soet Koekies, Unglazed stoneware biscuits and mixed media.
Assorted Biscuits / Soet Koekies, Unglazed stoneware biscuits and mixed media.

Erica Elk - every thing + no thing

Artist's Statement:
As a student on one of the ‘white liberal’ campuses in the 80s I encountered the feminist philosophy the ‘personal is political’. A profound way to come to understand how my own reality and individual ‘choices’ were formed and reinforced through my place within the complex power dynamics of race, class and gender in South Africa…

While the world is a much more complex place these days – the personal is still political – and the political is still personal – and this is the lens through which I see domestic departures:

The smallest, simplest, seemingly insignificant act – at face value things which seem so personal, so individual, so intimate – so ‘nothing’ – when repeated over and over again become ‘everything’ - and work to support the maintenance of systems - just like the one I grew up in and that continues to play a role in shaping my reality.

Nothing denotes things lacking importance, interest, value, relevance or significance. Whereas everything is all that exists. Over the last few years I have come to see the work of the artist as making visible the invisible – to remind us of the value of things we no longer see or notice.

And so, my work in this exhibition is about every thing and no thing – but mostly its about where no thing becomes everything.

every thing + no thing III, Gouache and charcoal on paper

Katherine Glenday - Beneath the Story

Artist's statement:
The work for 'Domestic Departures’ extends previous explorations to do with ceramic objects in the domestic setting. Porcelain vessels are the departure point and medium for musings about cultural artifacts, their place in domestic collections and their role as emotional and historical indexes in family legacies.

Domestic collections of ceramics or ‘china’, interface history and home and are often records of emotional dislocation, translocation and relocation. In this group of works It is mainly the personal and emotional aspect which are suggested.

Arrival, 2012, Porcelain (1m x 46cm)

Anne Graaff - Mapping the House

Artist's Statement:
Mapping the House:
Where does the idea of the house end? Where does it begin? These works explore the concept of house from the small domestic realm to the notion that the universe itself can be viewed as our ‘house’.  As part of this series, paper houses folded from maps suggest that the world can be viewed as our ‘planet house’, each country a smaller house within the big house.  Some of the map houses refer to initiatives for territorial expansion: - how countries like to expand their houses. Warfare is part of this story. The houses that reference the paper doily suggest the small domestic world. They are paired with houses that represent the cosmos. The idea of the house, in this coupling, is stretched from tiny to grand, from small to huge.

Conversations on art and craft – The Embroidered Paintings:
These works are painting. And they are also embroideries. They celebrate both these traditions and bring them together.  They play with traditional categories, of art and of craft and manifest skills belonging to the domain of needle-crafts, executed for home decoration, and skills and practices that belong to the world of high art with its traditionally higher cache of status and value. They belong to the domestic world of traditionally women’s work and to the high art world of fine art.

Painting, when executed on canvas, can be viewed, loosely, as textile art. Viewing it in this way can open a fresh perspective onto the art/craft divide and debate. What happens when the categories become muddled? How do we categorize a work that is fine art painting and embroidery? Taking up the theme of textiles, the works deliberately refers to the iconographic language of textiles used in interior decor. The works attempt to play with some of the hierarchies of value and gender, as well as hierarchies of domestic and public domains.

Leaves, Mixed media (25 x 25cm)
Flower, Mixed media (25 x 25cm)
Josephine Grindrod - Little Maids

Artist's statement:
Josie Grindrod explores representations of the child and the artefacts of childhood in order to examine the power relations and affective states involved in the formation of the subject.

Portraits: “Little Maids” series:
These portraits seek to embody the gravitas and nobility of the child duly central to its own world, as well as an interrogation of attitudes of assumed privilege.

Negatives: “Little Maids” series:
Mothers often play important roles in their families as keepers of the domestic archive. These little paintings on prints, based on visual records of the domestic in public archives, seek to redeem the ‘invisible’ history of oft disavowed yet vitally important caregivers, often exceedingly young themselves, as well as to imagine the fantasies which may have been attached to such figures by the cared-for child. 

Imogen Age 6 II, 2007, Monotype (43 x 60cm) 
Little Maids: Imogen Age 6 III, 2007, Monotype (17 x 25cm)

Michelle Kriek - Audible Turbulence

Artist's statement:
This series of statements (and secrets) are a pointer to the things that women say to themselves and to another within relationships.

Audible Turbulence, 2012, (Detail), Gouache, pencil, watercolour and wall that defines space (11 x 16cm)

Audible Turbulence, 2012, (Detail), Gouache, pencil, watercolour and wall that defines space (11 x 16cm)

Lorienne Lotz - Dis-tort

Artist's statement:

My paintings are determined by playing with images and colours that emerge unfettered from the realm of the unconscious. Media images or photographs are altered, and re-emerge, transformed, warped and juxtaposed to form a personal iconography.
The push and pull of working with whole body movement, the application and erasure, reapplication and re-erasure of paint and mark-making, not only inhibits attachment to product but allows the painting to move through different evolutions and to thus determine it’s final destination.
The images that constantly re-assert themselves in the work seem to represent the perpetual dichotomies within a personal narrative; growing up within a brutal colonial system that has ‘evolved’ into an oligarchic reign of terror and corruption vs. an unavoidable anaesthetized middle class reality. Hence they bear the traces of an insidious underlying violence, the deep shadows that are so much a part of the human condition and a contemporary culture afflicted by dis-location, dys-function, dis-tortion, dis-satisfaction, dis-advantage, dis-association, dis-approval, dis-belief.  By freeing the object or image from its context, by acknowledging shadow and integrating light, by attempting to say the unsayable, the work endeavors to point not only to the universal constancy of change but the unreliability of perception, the collapse of time and the illusion of reality. 

Critical Father from the Dys-function Series, 2012, Acrylic on canvas (90 x 120cm)
Sins of the Father, 2012, Oil on canvas (51 x 51cm)

Tracy Megan - Fracture

Artist's statement:
Using discarded and broken objects found around the home, I explore the vulnerable aspects of family life, particularly childhood that are most often concealed.  "As long as your mind is carefully, surreptitiously avoiding conflict, as long as it is searching for comfort through escape, no one can help you to complete action, no one can push you into a crisis that will resolve your conflict.  When you once realize this - not see it merely intellectually, but also feel the truth of it - then your conflict will create the flame which will consume it" (Krishnamuti, J).

Fragile beams of light serve to illuminate the shadowy corners where secrets thrive, prompting them into consciousness so that their legacy which manifests in myriad complicated personal dysfunctions can be dismantled and the cycle of destruction broken. "Life is very disturbed, life being the poor people, the rich people, the camel that suffers with so much weight on its back, the politician, the revolution, the war, the quarrels, the bitterness, the unhappiness, the joy and the dark shadows of life. We carry on; and the beauty of life passes by” ( Krishnamuti, J).  

Fracture III, 2012, Found objects

Taryn Millar - Some of the Whole (a work in two parts)

Artist's statement:

Part 1 is a composite of 13 diminutive drawings (3 x 2 cm), each a fragment of a disassembled whole. By gathering these together through careful inspection, it becomes apparent that the source image was that of a family portrait, parents on a sofa surrounded by their children. But here, the scattered images allude to narratives, hitherto likely concealed, through a focus on detail. The connections, some explicit, others more obscure, are highly personal, a rendition and investigation of the lives behind a façade, the façade of the familiar, the familiar of the conventional portrait. And so, a subtle act of disruption invokes a new way of seeing.

Part 2 is a sequence of rectangles reminiscent of the arrangement of images in Part 1. These shapes, while blank, are unavoidably imbued with meaning drawn from their relation to the imagined whole and its fragments. As a post-linguistic version of the narrative, Part 2 is a further and final extension in the possibilities of seeing, an abstract epilogue to the viewer’s overall experience.

Untitled (table & chair), after Toba Khedoori’s work of the same title:
Khedoori’s large-scale painting presents a beautiful table and chair poetically rendered to suggest a quiet moment of solitude and contemplation. In my much smaller version of this arrangement, the chair has been knocked over, suggesting a suddenness of flight. What went wrong? The question lingers, quietly, alarmingly.  

Untitled (table and chair), after Toba Khedoori, 2012, (Detail) Watercolour on embossed Fabriano paper (76 x 55cm)

Kathy Robins - Mama

Artist's statement:

In the work I use fabric and cloth as associative materials with specific gender references.  I acknowledge the ceremonial function of cloth as a marker of the sacred as well as its more mundane use as evidenced in the fiber flattened sub-economic blankets.  The blanket in particular both protect and comforts, but can also quieten, stifle and muffle. The play between comfort/discomfort, and the veiled yet transparent is a means to exploring layers, layers of skin, masks and portals into other realms.

I have worked alongside various NGO’s in the orphan and vulnerable sector; the poignancy of so many children not having a mother affects me deeply.  My own personal experience of loss reinforces this feeling.  My work is an attempt to voice, that which has been mute.  The work thus pivots around a central word, Mama that I performed, recorded and then represented in different forms.  “Mama” finds it’s manifestation in video, the visualization of the sound wave and mutates and is manifested in other forms, some clear and others a distillation of the idea into a muffled form.

Where Are You?, 2012, Glass and lipstick

Cheryl Rumbak - “D”  Domestic Departures

Artist's statement:

In my life departure has a particular resonance.  Letting go and being able to revisit.  The power of objects and images to evoke memories and feelings. For me the home is a labyrinth of the psyche, the community, the body, cycles of time and place.

I chose to work in the realm of my childhood and family environment growing up in South Africa during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, a time not dominated by the internet and digital images.  I followed a trail of my own domestic life and departures and have chosen to focus on the D’s of domestic departures.
‘D’ is the fourth letter of the alphabet used by the Semites who lived in Palestine.  They named it ‘daleth’, meaning ‘door’.  The door became a portal through which to review and record.  In the contained and specific context of ‘Ds’ in my life I began to remember all the people, places, objects, words and emotions which resonate deeply.

I started collecting objects, photographs, books, household items whilst packing up my parents’ home of fifty years and looking around me I observed how much is created and arranged for domestic use.  How many hours in one’s day is spent ordering our domestic environments and lives.  How little time we have to reflect.  The interruptions and fragmentation became part of this process.

My References:

I used the World Book Encyclopaedia that I found in Italy.
I used travel books and photographs that I found in my parent’s home.
I used postcard images of exhibitions that I’ve collected over the years.
I used an old copy of the Webster Dictionary.

Door, 2012, Gouache on fibre based paper
Darwin, 2012, Gouache on fibre based paper

Lyn Smuts - Femme Maison

Artist's statement:

My interest in the landscapes of the natural world and in sound has led me from working primarily as a printmaker to an engagement with other disciplines. My reading of a scientific printout resulted in a collaborative video Interpretation where Christina Goodall sings the birth cry of a baby from a sonogram. The sound is by Bruce Muirhead and the video by Kai Lossgott.

In this exhibition, Domestic Departures, I revisit, as starting point, the magnificent Femme Maison works of Louise Bourgeois. I bore the psychologically restrictive homes Bourgeois imposed on sturdy female figures in mind while learning about the sphere of the paper nautilus. After mating, the female argonautus argo,  secretes a calcinous substance from two enlarged paddle ‘hands’ adapted on two of her eight octopus tentacles. With this substance she builds the shell in which she lives, lays her eggs, navigates to the bottom of the ocean and up to the surface, and travels horizontally at great speed. She generally moves like a ballast tank at her own will. Although she can leave this home freely, she generally clings the inside wall with the help of the two paddles.

The amorphous and bizarre shape of this small creature, who so intensely and devotedly lives her female life, seems to me worthy of respect at least and potent as an object of projection.

Femme Maison, 2012, Installation comprising: Softground etching (20 x 15cm),
Shell (8 x 6cm) and Ceramic sculpture (9 x 5 x 5cm)

Displacement, 2012, Installation comprising: Etching (18.5 x 15cm),
Acrylic painting on paper (30 x 21cm) and Rubber object (33 x 12.5cm)

Gwen van Embden - Hours of the Day

Artist's statement:

Each discrete work in 'Hours of the Day' has a correspondence in art history. The quality of these correspondences refers to daily practices in the domestic space.

These works have been hung together as a collective. The hanging together, without touching, builds a pictorial order to manifest their relatedness and this without loosing their individuality, serves to foreground each playing its part within the domestic space in which relatedness is of the first importance.  Companioning and exchanging correspondences in a shared vocabulary, sometimes from vastly different practices, but projecting the same tone.

Hours of the Day II, 2012 (selected detail), Mixed media

Hours of the Day II, 2012 (selected detail), Mixed media

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