March 2008, Seippel gallery Johannesburg

We spent an afternoon and a morning putting this show up. It was not curated or even selected. I had five pieces from Joe Wolpe, three NFS and two others. Ralf Seippel, the gallery director had selected my work, Nicolas Hales and Howard Minnie’s work when he visited Cape Town in December 2007. He and I fetched Bill’s work from Fiekes home. Ralf knew Mbongeni Buthelezi and Malcolm Jiyani’s painting. This is the first in a series of exhibitions of abstract shows that he would like to do.

The gallery is a large warehouse space in down town JHB. The light through the industrial windows is soft JHB light that changes as the late afternoon storm clouds gather. Ralf was very clear on the placing of the work.
I like group shows. The images talk to one another and create specific spaces as they interact. I write briefly about my work here but was very privileged to be part of this show and the tradition of abstract painting in this country.
“River Stix” was made at the Cape Town Thupelo workshop 2007. It is made of sticks that I collected from the forest and wool that I spun. The materials were from living sources and I was recycling them into a commemorative piece for those who did not return. It is many years since I have been able to communicate any of the horror and tragedy of the 70’s and 80’s that we lived through in this country. This piece hangs alone on the wall looking across at Joe Wolpe works. Howard Minnie has his porcelain piece “After the Fire” on the floor between us.
Breathe, the five large canvases that I made in 2000/2001 hang side by side for the first time. The rhythms and pulses move like a gentle wind through the large space open to them. Bill Ainslie’s work is on the adjacent wall.

“Stella Rosa” hangs alone near the entrance. Clare Loveday composed a short piece of music called ARC for this painting. (We are working on a body of work called a response to a response.) This is the first in the series. She used the galley space, the painting and the echo’s to describe her response to the painting. Charles Baggott played the baritone saxophone. The waves of intense and deep sound, light playfulness, quick, busy sounds and then the echo’s gave the painting a perspective I had not seen. It was indeed like looking into the Stella Rosa. The applause was spontaneous and on going for these minutes of unrepeatable privilege.

I have included an image of the commission I did for Vodacom , Century City. The building is very large and occupied by workers 24 hours a day. It is made of steel, glass and cement with the light coming down from the roof. In response to this I painted three canvases which hang like banners. I made a jungle of sound and color to compliment the environment, it is called “madrigal”, (unaccompanied singing).