02.08 – 09.09.2017
An exhibition of recent paintings by Zarah Cassim
Zarah Cassim’s forthcoming solo exhibition, The Guise of Reality, develops her theme of encounters with perception by evoking pictorial spaces derived from natural landscapes. The artifice of these spaces is foregrounded in her dissolving treatment of the medium. Oil paint is applied, sponged away, wiped and diluted with solvent such that the forms she attempts to describe become ever more dreamlike and inaccessible. Layer by layer she peels away the play of illusion to quarry the question of reality itself, situating the viewer in the “existential attitude”: a sense of disorientation in the face of an absurd world.
Her process engages the theme of rebellion. The exact nature of the rebellion is open-ended: a rebellion against an inherited system of seeing, the tradition of landscape painting or the painted surface itself. The Romantic notion of the natural sublime as a space of freedom is revealed as a guise of reality, riddled with artifices that Cassim persists in unveiling through paint.