Pretoria Art Association, Mackie Street: Open from 3 to 19 September 2020
Opening address Enfolding by Mandy Conidaris (Director of outoftheCUBE art platform)
Gallery press release
The exhibition Enfolding is a visual echo of bittersweet memories and loss. Dr Gwen Miller, artist and senior lecturer in visual art at Unisa, reflects on sites and entities enveloped in experiences that are both traumatic and comforting, turning remembrances into tangible forms. Her creative process - working with multiple layers of ink or paint washes, rendering some images softly and others more precisely and specific - resembles her memory process.
Featuring drawings, prints and paintings, this exhibition contains two themes tied to the central idea of awareness as enfolded in layers. One theme deals with experiences of melancholy caused by reflecting on familiar places and mundane objects - a dam, a rock, a hospital room. These transcend their ordinariness through association and rich mood. Another theme deals with a series titled Forest for my love, which originates from the physical site of a park where trees were planted trees as an act of remembrance. The artworks reflect on healing rituals and embrace life’s overwhelming ambiguities – the quiet value of care given in hope, the sense of desolation when faced with the reality of mortality, and the pensive meditation on the gravity of kindness.
Miller’s works are represented in private and public collections, such as Absa, Telkom, Centurion City Council, University of the Northwest, UNISA, SAHMS and SASOL.
The exhibition can be seen at the Association of Arts Pretoria until 19 September 2020. Tel: 012 346 3100
The evocative work can also be viewed at email@example.com
Forest for my love:
Mourning and transcendence.
These sketches and paintings captures fragments of places from weekend visits, ink drawings of hospital rooms and photographs of details of life-preserving equipment. They are images of sorrow, witnessing withering transient life, yet speak of particular care and devotion.
Pointing to the complexities of our lived experience, the exhibition title of Enfolding is also a homage to Gilles Deleuze' writing on The fold. The abstraction within works becomes an attempt to grapple with enfolding meaning and a measure of insight into the journey we travel in our bodies. Deleuze (1993: 86) writes about this limited expression:"Every nomad thus expresses the entire world, but obscurely and dimly because it is finite and the world is infinite...It is as if the depths of every nomad were made from an infinity of tiny folds (inflections) endlessly furling unfurling in every direction, so that the nomad's spontaneity resembles that of agitated sleepers who twist and turn on their mattresses.'"
Extract of the poem Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye, 1952.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore...