ORIGIN ART INVITES YOU TO THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF “THE FIGURE AND HISTORIES”
This exhibition by two well-established and respected South African painters focuses on their quite different takes on the centrality of the human body and figurative representation in the painterly medium.
For Ballam, the figure, especially the female figure, is a site of contestation, conflict and even violence throughout history. In refashioning figures and scenes from classical antiquity and art history, Ballam brings a very contemporary filter and a new view of classical tropes. Her palimpsestuous figures drawn from art historical scenes of rape and unambiguous violence inflicted on women are reimagined, with limbs, especially hands, erased and re-emerging to powerful effect. But here too are figures of redemption and triumph, realised with the same spectral skill in her brushwork and composition.
Neethling’s oeuvre is filled, too, with figures drawn from a different, more urban art history – the ghosts of Lautrec, Degas, Cezanne, Renoir and Pop all haunt his images of thugs, corrupt politicians and bikini girls. Well known for his association and collaborations with Robert Hodgins, his figures differ in that they seem more tied to their bodies, less emblematic of something else as in his ‘mentor and muse’ Hodgins’ work. Neethling often uses photography as source material for what he calls his ‘figurative-expressionistic’ figures. The portraits and nudes shown here are redolent of early photographic studies, but are pushed away from realism by his use of colour and his assured sense of line to realise character studies that, even as faceless nudes, contain much emotion and pathos.
Saturday 5 November | 11am-3pm | Keyes Art Mile
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