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Under the Surface

This body of work formed part of a continuous research project and developed over several exhibitions:  

  • Looking in...and seeing beyound, at Unisa Art Gallery. October 2022

  • Under the surface, at White River Art Gallery, White River Mpumalanga. September - October 2022

  • MESH, at RK Contemporary, Riebeeck Kasteel, Western Cape. April 2022

Under the Surface 

White River Art Gallery exhibited my work together with works by Philip Badenhorst and Adelle van Zyl in September 2022. Thinking about “stories that gather stories” (Haraway 2016), there are links between real and imagined ecologies. I reconsidered image making in terms of revealing that which is hidden in landscapes, objects and growth. In Limpopo, my birthplace, lichens grow with glowing colours in dry heat, anchored on rocks. Harsh landscapes yield fungi - creating life through mycorrhizal partners. Through the language of magic realism and with a microscopic eye, the images are composed below or next to another, to suggest symbiotic relationships. Abstracting and restructuring images to evoke new connections, one form grows into another through unfolding layers of drawing, monotypes, digital prints, paintings and collages. Through medium manipulation I consider how organisms transform substrates into new materials. 

Art Times Magazine Feature. Pages 60-62.


During April-May 2022, the sketches and planning were exhibited at RK Contemporary, Riebeek Kasteel,  in the exhibition title MESH: the fabric of friends.In this group exhibition Colleen Alborough, Emma Willemse, Gwenneth Miller and Mandy Conidaris curated the concept around the relationships of friends. We were fellow-lecturers at Unisa between 2008 and 2012, forming bonds as art makers and supportive art friends. Our support grew to a rewarding experience of personal friendship, intellectual exchange still retaining a porous sieve for each to explore our own thinking and relationships to materials and places. Mandy Conidaris wrote: “When we were offered this exhibition, the title MESH seemed appropriate to describe our work concepts as individual artists and honour our creative alliance. We all draw on the personal as triggers to resonate universally, and here we speak of our different understandings of mesh as related to our works” (Art Times, 2022, Aprril)
My work on MESH includes work from Gills of other creatures (2021), and extends the theme of fungi as a metaphor for intangible bonds. Only new exhibited for the first time as part of MESH are captured on this page. In these new works, the links between forest, kinship and meditive practice comes together. My references include photographs I took whilst walking through the forest with my family and dried, sealed fungi collected from artist Philip Badenhorst's enchanting wild garden.  There is some magic in this interrelationship between stuff and the human race, communities and friends.

The Material of Bells series
I have been collecting small hand-held bells over many years, and started drawing them as a meditation. Some were bought at specific places that I visited with my family, and others were gifts from friends. Each reminds me of the people, places or circumstances.  Bells symbolize calling, beginnings, endings, summoning people to gather, thus their act of ringing always mediates knowledge of an event. Rendering each bell becomes a form of contemplation that draws my mind to a place of calm during times of  trauma. I lose myself in scrutinising the physical details of the bell, trying to evoke the materiality of the object through my stains and marks of ink. Since the substance of a bell adds to its resonating sound, I was struck by the thought that what we emanate also becomes evidence of the fabric (material) of our consciousness, our convictions, and our values. Apart from the shape of the bell resembling a simple mushroom, the vibrating sounds the bells also acts as a source of energy. Recalling brings memory to life, like mushrooms recycling the energy below. One of the last works in this series, Sounding (2022), finds an echo between these seemingly disparate subject matter.

Gallery RK Contemporary, Riebeek-Kasteel, Western Cape. 2022