“This is where we meet”, AVA gallery, Cape Town, February 2006

The work for this show started in 2003. It makes reference to earlier work but I have found new possibilities both in the way the work has been made and the reading that has informed it.

I clearly remember deciding that I needed to look at the tone of colours I had been using. I found direction in African textiles and as a weaver by trade this gave me a way in.

I have been able to shift my colour, find new surfaces, work with pattern and relocate or contextualise this body of work from a different view point, using previous experiences as references.

Each image contextualises itself. It has reference to a piece of clothing or a cloth that has been or could be worn for an occasion, a ceremony, a purpose. In sensing the piece I hope you will be able to meet the person, (or pretend to be the person) who would have worn it; imagine the body beneath it, the movement and texture of the cloth on the skin. In this way the paintings create a context for the person/portrait, place and time that they hold; they describe the interior of the image and enlarge the narrative at the same time. It describes what isn’t there.

When we meet, the cloth that is worn is usually our first experience of the person. It locates them for us. This is not done as an assessment or judgement; it is about looking for clues and making observations. The movement of the cloth, the colour/s, texture and patterning all talk of the wearer and inform our meeting.

I have also inverted a tradition that I have great respect for. The kimono is a good example of this. It is a cloth created with a specific purpose in terms of use. It is also used as an art work. I have tried to make art works that refer to this kind of clothing, clothing that carries a tradition or sense of ceremony, a specific intention. It brings a presence with it.

Some of the clothing is reversible.

The movement and music of cloth starts in the spinning, weaving and dying process. Incantations and verses are very much part of making a cloth. In North Africa these are referred to as “cefi.” (Sound and rhythm are part of the colour and mark making in painting for me.)

When a cloth is worn it carries the music, song, verse that it has been made with and mixes with the music of the body that carries it. This is where we meet.

I have titles for some of the work but have decided not to use them. I hope that this very brief description of some of the ideas that have informed this body work will add to your experience of the images.

Thank you to Estelle Jacobs, Shelley Johnson, Thiba Mguye, Anthony Cawood, Joe Wolpe and to my family for their invaluable assistance.