New Exhibition – Venter gallery
November 3rd, 2018 – December 3rd, 2018
Join us for the Opening on Saturday November, 17th, from 4 – 6 PM.
The Venter Gallery is excited to announce an exhibition of selected work from Deon Venter's series Last Supper / The Order of Things and Kathy Venter's series Metanarrative / Life. Don't miss viewing some of the internationally acclaimed work of the Venter's exhibited in New York, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle, San Francisco, Zug, Toronto, Montreal Vancouver, Johannesburg and Cape Town. Please join us for a glass of wine with the Venters at the gallery in Grace Point Square, Saturday evening 17th November from 4 - 6 pm.
How do qualities like style, medium, form and content inform an art work? This is just one of the questions Kathy Venter’s works ask of the viewer. The relationship between a work of art and identity has been extensively explored, but not without its challenges. The characterisitics that define a person’s identity are extensive and stretch far beyond gender and sexuality. Using a hollow, hand-pinch method, Kathy’s life-size sculptures explore how representations of the female body are too often burdened by a grid of knowledge and interpretation which rarely escapes the clutches of hegemonic discourse, resulting in portrayals of the female subject as fetishes. As their names suggest, the life-size figures from her Coup D’Oeil series are frozen in contemplative glances that seem to draw attention away from the body. While their nakedness is there in all its unidealized beauty, the viewer is captivated by a female gaze, and compelled to ponder what has caught their attention. Conversely, a naked woman arched over, and in the process of drawing, stares down at her creation intently, evading the spectator’s gaze. By baring her artistic soul as well as her body, the figure reveals herself as a woman, but most importantly an artist. The figures in this show are painted in a polychrome glaze, inspired by Kathy’s experience with ceremonial body-painting by the Xhosa culture in South Africa where she grew up. The resulting sculptures seem to metaphorically shed their skin – or rather emerge from them – as they reveal themselves with a discursive power that transforms and reconfigures the contours of the fixed social hierarchies in which we live. Moreover, her works move beyond subject matter, and engage with aspects of artistic technique to examine how the ways in which an art object is crafted is also mediated by values and assumptions about the medium. Clay figures are as old as marble ones, but the fragility, and the added precision needed to mold and then fire pottery into the human form, makes it one of the lesser used media. By evoking the ancient use of clay in Greek Tanagra, and terracotta figures of the Etruscans in Italy, Kathy’s works transports the viewer through time.
Deon Venter’s works explore the human propensity to separate entities, particularly ones that stand in opposition to each other. Recognizing the conscious dissolution of line in the colour compositions of the Impressionists, and all those who paved the way for abstract works of art, the paintings of this series play with the effect of juxtaposing conceptually different approaches. In Scrubbed Out, the references to perspective in the walls and windows of the space are disrupted by the overlapping grid. What predominates as visual sign, in a work whose iconic meaning traditionally resides in the religious theme of Christ’s Last Supper, is a Mondrain-esque abstraction. The figures of the Last Supper are almost indiscernible, as is the perspectival space of the room, while the three-dimensionality of the work resides in a chair that seemingly floats before the matrix of lines. In paintings like Last Supper (Bone) and Last Supper (Noir), colour and texture are combined to create stand alone compositions that are atmospheric in nature. By superimposing a succession of grids on the paintings, Venter dismantles any fundamental code that precludes two opposing aesthetics. In the upper part of the canvases, an overlapping grid acts perspectivally to create a three-demensionality, drawing the eye deep into the space. However, it is an inversion of the iconic representation that would normally have the eye follow a vertical trajectory that begins at the bottom of the canvas. Instead perspective is used to draw the eye down into the upper recesses. The perspectival effect quickly vanishes, neutralized by the remaining matrix that predominates. In Deon’s Order of Things series, the pure experience of order is dismantled to allow for a different way of viewing the world. Playing with texture and colour, these works bring new and exciting meaning to the Readymade, by illustrating how something as commonplace as a barcode can have stunning aesthetic appeal when it is given a painterly quality.
by Michael Coughlin, Ph.D.