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Artists offered a foot in the door

Art Source South Africa
09/07/2009 15:51:30

Artslink.co.za News

Artists offered a foot in the door

On 19 September, Artspace’s Mentorship Programme for 2009 presents three exhibitions to the public.

Launched in 2008, this dynamic programme is the gallery’s flagship initiative for nurturing new artists entering the market by providing them access to the support of established artists.

The programme for 2009 began in March when mentors Wilma Cruise, Kagiso Pat Mautloa and Usha Seejarim started working with their respective mentees, being Louis Olivier, Senzo Nhlapo and Sinta Spector.

Together they worked on the mentees’ conceptual development and a new body of work for these new artists’ forthcoming gallery exhibitions. The mentors supported the younger artists through their production process and will assist them with the curation of their exhibitions.

“We are very excited by what has come out of this programme,” says gallery curator Teresa Lizamore. “The mentees’ work has developed and the exhibitions are going to be of a high standard. It’s also great to see the diversity of mediums that have been explored - ranging from photography, sculpture to wearable art. ”

This year’s programme saw the addition of stimulating workshops on professional practice hosted by Teresa Lizamore, the curator of Rosebank’s Artspace Gallery. The presenters included Les Cohn and Taryn Cohn of Art Source South Africa - a consultancy that offers strategic career management to contemporary artists.

The Artspace programme, also endorsed by Business and Arts South Africa’s Barloworld Mentoring Programme, recently hosted a workshop conducted by Gordon Massie of Artinsure. Issues explored related to the marketing and management of an artist’s work within the commercial sector, and managing gallery relationships. The often challenging issues of pricing a work and developing value in their ‘product’ as an artist were discussed.

The three individual exhibitions by the mentees will be shown over a two month period - from 19 September – 7 November.

These exhibitions provide the mentees with valuable experience through engaging with a professional gallery environment.

Mentorship Exhibitions:

Exhibition 1:
Pale Male: sitting standing walking
An exhibition of sculpture and drawing - metaphor for a spiritual condition
Artist: Louis Olivier
Mentored by Wilma Cruise

Opening 19 September 2009 11h00
Walkabout 26 September 2009 11h00
Exhibition closes 3 October

Artist Profile:

Louis Olivier is a sculptor based in Pretoria. Born in 1976 in Vereeniging he grew up in Bethal in Mpumalanga. He graduated with a degree in information technology from the University of Pretoria.

In 2001 a dramatic career change saw him move from commerce to visual art where he cut his teeth in the field of commercial art. He created themed environments which included the uShaka Marine World Aquarium, Durban and Ibn Batuta Mall in Dubai. During this time he developed his considerable skills in moulding, casting and welding and gained invaluable knowledge of materials.

In 2004 he met Carlo Gamberini of the Vignali Art Foundry and was exposed to contemporary art for the first time. Seeing the sculpted work in progress confirmed his desire to become a sculptor.

He started by securing private commissions and slowly built up a collection of works.

Amongst the commissions he undertook was the Sandton Benchmark Project for Rand Merchant Bank. This work consists of two life size bronze figures sitting on a public bench. This is one of the projects afforded Louis through the recognition of his talents by Teresa Lizamore.

Endorsing his ambition to move into the contemporary art sector, Lizamore invited Olivier to participate in the Artspace Mentorship Programme under the mentorship of Wilma Cruise. This decision was made in conjunction with Cruise who was keen to be part of the project but wished for Lizamore to recommend the artist. Through Cruise’s guidance Olivier embarked on a journey of experimentation using his own cast body as form in space.

Artist’s Statement:

PALE MALE: sitting – walking - standing began as the process of casting my own body in the familiar stances of standing, sitting, walking. I rid myself of all adornments in these positions. The figures, drawings and a stop frame animated video interrogate the axiom that we come into the world empty handed and depart it equally empty handed.

The unknown, the unclear and the yet-to-be-discovered are mysteries that have intrigued me throughout life. Under the guidance of Wilma Cruise, who also uses the body as a vehicle of meaning, I explore the sense of being in the world, being part of it but yet not defined by it. The sculpted body and figures in space become metaphors for a spiritual condition. (Louis Olivier August 2009)

Mentor profile:

Wilma Cruise is an independent artist and writer. She has had thirteen solo exhibitions, curated many others and completed a number of public works including the National Monument to the Women of South Africa, Pretoria and the Memorial to the Enslaved in Cape Town (in collaboration with Gavin Younge).

Cruise has won several awards including the Architect’s Project Award in 2000 for the National Monument to the women of South Africa, Union Buildings, Pretoria; the quarterly Vita Award in 1993 for Nicholas - October 1990 and Lorenzo il Magnifico Award at the Biennale Internazionale Dell’arte Contemporanea, Florence, 2001.

Her work is represented in the following public collections: The Iziko National Gallery, The Pretoria Art Museum, Durban Art Museum, University of South Africa, MTN, BHP Billiton, Corobrik, Standard Bank Gallery, Sasol, University of Johannesburg, Sasol University Museum and the Constitutional Court.

Exhibition 2:
Artist: Senzo Nhlapo
Mentored by: Kagiso Pat Mautloa

Opening 7 October 2009 18h00
Walkabout 17 October 2009 11h00
Exhibition closes 21 October

Artist Profile:

Born in 1979 at Baragwanath Hospital, Soweto, Senzo matriculated at South View High School in Lenasia. He studied Fine Arts at Funda Community College, Soweto and trained in print making at Artist Proof Studios, Johannesburg. He studied photography with Angie Langelle from Norway and mosaic and design in Germany.

Nhlapo graduated from the Master of Arts in the Public Sphere from L’Ecole d’Cantonale du Valais (ECAV) in Switzerland.

He has participated in many curated exhibitions and is an experienced workshop facilitator in the creative arts sector. Nhlapo is currently teaching at Vega - The Brand Communications School.

Nhlapo has a long relationship with his mentor Kagiso Pat Mautloa, whose work as a professional artist inspired him to pursue his career as a visual artist.

Artist Statement:

Nhlapo works with mixed media using photographs and painting. He has developed a technique of weaving his images. This refers to his concerns related to tradition within a contemporary context.

His work deals with the interactions of people within the City of Gold (Johannesburg) and the intersections between their lives. Hence he uses visual materials of places of transit where people interact with each other while engaging with their daily jobs and travel.

His work is a series of photographs and paintings depicting points such as train stations, bus stops and taxi ranks.

“I view my art as a way of documenting how society lives in the urban sphere” says Nhlapo. Especially in the big cities where a question of living in these environments demands the answer of identity”.

Observing his work one realizes that it is the study of people living and travelling daily in the city, which is particularly pertinent now during the city’s transition from one mode of transport to another.

Mentor Profile:

Kagiso Pat Mautloa is a painter and installation artist. He studied at Mofolo Art Centre in Soweto where he grew up, before completing a diploma in fine art at ERC Art Centre in Rorke’s Drift, KwaZulu-Natal. Mautloa currently resides in Alexandra, Johannesburg.

In this urban context, renewal and erosion are the linked and concurrent themes characterising Mautloa`s work. He draws inspiration from urban waste and detritus, the cryptic text of faded posters and billboards, subtle colours bleached by past storms. Working with paint, rusted metal, stained canvas, old window frames, discarded tools, Mautloa restores and reconstructs vanished memories and anecdotes in this process of renewal.

Since 1982 Mautloa has exhibited in many solo exhibitions, group shows and workshops in South Africa, Botswana, Belgium, Germany, France, Holland, Switzerland, the UK, Ireland, the United States, Cuba and India. More recent exhibitions include a show on the Sasol Wax Art Awards, Johannesburg (2005), Faces to Names at the Alliance Francaise, Johannesburg (2006), Shift at Goodman Gallery, Cape Town (2007) and Double 07 at Polokwane Art Museum, Limpopo Province.

The artist’s work is part of public and private collections across South Africa and abroad.

Exhibition 3:
Artist: Sinta Spector
Mentored by: Usha Seejarim

Opening 24 October 2009 18h00
Walkabout 31 October 2009 11h00
Exhibition closes 7 November

Artist Profile:

Before working as an artist in Johannesburg, Sinta worked and studied in America and lived in Japan, Swaziland and Indonesia.

She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C. Spector is currently completing an MFA at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Previous exhibitions have included installations at the Goethe Institute in Johannesburg, in galleries in Rosebank, Johannesburg, on the University of the Witwatersrand campus, as well as in Washington D.C. USA.

Artist Statement:

I create my work out of recycled, reinvented textiles, feathers, buttons, and found objects.

The work deals with issues of job creation.

It attempts to consider the intersection between the creation of art and work and reflects my environmental concerns.

Ultimately, I aim for work that is replicable by others. The mannequins I use to support the textile work have recycling potential and are moulded from paper mache.

A focus of my current work is knitted, knotted textiles. Knitting is an inclusive activity - a technique often passed from skilled to unskilled people. Knitting is also used in occupational therapy for rehabilitation purposes.

While living in Japan, I served an internship with Jurgen Lehl, a German clothing designer working in Tokyo. I catalogued thousands of different textile swatches by colour and texture. This work, although ostensibly a simple process, allowed me to draw upon formal colour theory which I applied to my work. In my current work, collecting and using feathers - a fascinating version of nature’s palette - has become important.

I focus on ways to reconstruct and re-use textiles - expensive/cheap, high/low quality, purchased/found, recycled or discarded material. I integrate these into new pieces of wearable art. The fabric is torn into strips, knotted and knitted into various patterns and motifs, resulting in a ‘new’ product. Sometimes I construct a garment from these knitted materials.

Mentor Profile:
(Author: AAW)

Usha Seejarim recasts the ordinary as something worthy of attention. In her videos and installations, she slows down our looking and injects a sense of wonder into subjects as seemingly pedestrian as bus tickets, rice sacks, car lights, and morning shadows. Her work is a unique combination of aesthetic transformation, urban concerns, and her own South African-Indian heritage.

Most recently (2008), Usha Seejarim was nominated for the prestigious Mercedes-Benz award for public art and in 2007 was a finalist in the Sasol Wax Art Award. Her light-art installation ‘The Why Men’ for the Sandton Central Arts Programme in 2007/08 won the client a Business Day-Business and Arts South Africa Award for the Best Use of new Commissioned Art. This was not Usha’s first experience working with light as a medium. Two years prior she was commissioned to make a Christmas tree for Anglo American’s annual project in Main Street, Johannesburg. Usha’s installation for that was a metal frame, ordinary light bulbs in ‘Fordsburg Buckets’ decorated with crystals. She was also commissioned by MTN to make a chandelier for their head office – an installation which literally used one hundred and forty thousand safety pins.

She recently completed the Kliptown Commission for Walter Sisulu Square for the Johannesburg Development Agency, this work express the tenets of the Freedom Charter through 10 sculptural installations made of slate-stone (klippe).

In November 2008, in the midst of the 2008 edition of the Sandton Central Why Men project and some giant commissions Usha Seejarim graduated with a Masters in Fine Art from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Chester Court, 142 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood
011 880 8802
Gallery hours are: 10h00-17h30 Tuesday – Friday. 10h00 - 15h30 on Saturdays.

Artslink.co.za Account:
Taryn Cohn
Art Source South Africa
011 447 2855
083 671 5139
Issued on behalf of Artspace JHB



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