SALON NINETY ONE End-of-year salon-style group show in aid of True North
Accessible, affordable artwork across a broad range of mediums by some of Salon Ninety One’s favourite emerging and established creatives. This year our Gallery and Exhibiting Artists will be donating ten percent of all artwork sales to the True North Organisation. Spoil yourself or a loved one with that special one-of-a-kind artwork and make a difference to the life of someone much younger and less fortunate. True North is a non-profit organisation that is pioneering Early Childhood Development (ECD) initiatives within marginalised communities.The historical lack of adequate provisioning of basic services to poor communities manifests itself within all spheres of society, ultimately resulting in a vast loss of human potential. The long-term ripple effects of inequality includes increased rates of unemployment, disease, substance abuse and the fragmentation of family units, and unfortunately young children are the most at risk. An incredible developmental window of opportunity exists within these early years, and it rapidly diminishes with age. This potential for growth into a “whole” person is not limited to academic development, but encompasses every part of the child’s world. As we celebrate ten wonderful years of Salon Ninety One, we recognise the light, love and hard work that has gone into building the True North organisation since 2007. Join Salon91 and our generous young artists this festive season in our quest to give the Vrygrond community and the youth of our country a brighter future.
For more information about the True North Organisation, please visit their website.
For any enquiries pertaining to the exhibition, please contact the gallery on 021-424-6930 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lilac Chaser is Heidi Fourie’s second solo exhibition at Salon91. The show marks a move away from more typical landscape formats to embrace concerns with contemporary perception. Her imagery is inspired by hikes in Grootkloof in the Magaliesberg region, which is characterised as being a shady and dramatic abyss with unique rock formations and reflective pools. Fourie describes the experience of being in the kloof as confronting a mysterious and unfathomable landscape characterised by notions of the hidden or mystical.
In applying her painter’s eye to the experience of natural space, Fourie translates the immersive state of being in the landscape into a journey within paint. She interrogates the tools of her trade: colour theory, the material quality of paint and the demands of illusionary visual perception, into a confrontation with the inner struggle demanded of the artist in the act of creating.
The term, Lilac Chaser, refers to a visual illusion also known as the Pac-Man illusion. The illusion involves the eye perceiving a green disk when all that is represented are lilac disks on a grey field. The term succinctly holds together Fourie’s various concerns in this new body of work. From the very personal experience of manifesting the missing the colour green amidst the brown winter landscape of Pretoria to the more philosophical, painter’s journey: how to express the hidden and mystical experiences of landscape within illusionary qualities of paint.
GREEN IS THE COLOUR | Written by Natasha Norman
The late Capetonian writer and poet, Stephen Watson, writes fondly of walking in Table Mountain range as a “stepping inside, not outside” of experience. “Consciousness has its doodles,” he muses, “and walking has a way of setting them off.” For him, as for Heidi Fourie, walking or hiking the world beyond our urban infrastructure has a way of revealing a certain inner realm, what Watson also describes as a ‘confrontation with otherness.’ Fourie’s experience of hiking the Groot Kloof Nature Reserve in the Magaliesburg Region in the middle of a dry, brown Pretoria winter, finds expression in this body of paintings as a confrontation with the edge of intellectual activity and the mysterious nature of the colour ‘green’.
In the dreamy, unknowable spaces of natural gullies and steep waterfalls where “light, washed clean, salts the shadows with a blackness” (Watson again), Fourie is confronted with a sense of mystical appreciation she can only describe as awe. This immersive experience has encouraged her to move away from the typical landscape format in her works in favour of long vertical canvases that stand together in formation or in reference to scenic windows. In this way, she foregrounds the act of looking out on landscape as one fraught with visual constraints, highlighting the limitations of convention in expressing experience.
Taking the experience of Groot Kloof back to the studio, Fourie has initiated an interrogation of perception, beginning with the techniques of painting. The reductive or removed mark, which has consistently been a feature of her work, is here combined with a more methodological approach to colour. In her pursuit of the non-visible or that part of experience that one feels rather than sees she has aptly cited the Pac-Man illusion, lilac chaser, in evoking the invisible.
The lilac chaser illusion gained popularity on the Internet in 2005. It results from the combination of the phi phenomenon (the illusion of perceiving continuous motion from a series of still images viewed in rapid succession) and the afterimage effect. When the eye is exposed to a circle of lilac colour on a grey or neutral surface, and that colour vanishes, one perceives a circle of the complementary colour, green, in its place. In a gif of lilac circles appearing and disappearing in succession, one perceives a green circle appearing to ‘chase’ the disappearing lilac circle. Physiologically, the human sense of perception consistently causes one to perceive colours that are not actually present in a space. One is reminded of the artist James Turrell’s light installations in museums and galleries where rooms flooded with a bright hue cause a viewer to see the complimentary hue, as vividly, upon exiting the room. As the afterimage in the mind’s eye fades, so the illusion vanishes.
In addition to colour, Fourie has interrogated mark and texture in this series by including a series of collages created from the paper palettes she uses while mixing paint. In a conscious consideration of the tension between spontaneity and intention in the creative process, she exposes the shift between the generative decision making in painting to the curated decision making of collage. Whether found or created, the mark is as important a vehicle of perception in painting as colour. So much can be deduced from a mark’s temperament, functioning like the adjectives or adverbs of a text. Laden or erased, heavy or light, Fourie’s descriptive mark is isolated as a found object from her palette and recontextualised in a collage, exploiting a double game of illusion and materiality.
Even if one is intellectually aware of the illusionary nature of perception, or the techniques employed by artists to create illusionistic spaces of pictorial depth, it does not prevent one from experiencing it. As such, this physiological experience sits at the edge of intellectual activity as a means of seeing the invisible. While Fourie’s exhibition is titled Lilac Chaser, an understanding of its meaning reveals it to be nothing to do with the colour lilac, but rather that which is invisible and mysterious. As David Gilmore crooned in 1969, “Green is the colour of her kind, quickness of the eye deceives the mind.”
Ref: Stephen Watson, 2010. The Music in the Ice: On Writers, Writing and Other Things. Penguin Group: South Africa.
Marco Beramini, 2016. “Lilac Chaser Illusion” in Vision, Illusion and Perception. [online] (www.reserachgate.net.)
Pink Floyd, 1969. “Green is the Colour” from the Album, More. Lupus Music Co.:U.K. Composed by Roger Waters, originally sung by David Gilmour.
Paul Senyol celebrates 10 years with Salon Ninety One
Salon Ninety One & Paul Senyol are truly proud and grateful to be celebrating a decade of working, growing and exhibiting together, as well as the beautiful friendship that has formed between Gallery and Artist over the years. Paul Senyol & Wesley van Eeden were the first artists to exhibit at Salon91 back in October 2008 in a two-man show, beautifully named Under These Skies. The Gallery and Artist will be marking the event and this special relationship with an exhibition titled Recollectionary: 10 Years of Paul Senyol & Salon Ninety One. This solo show takes on the form of a mini-retrospective featuring works on paper, board, canvas, as well as found objects and more, and will be accompanied by the launch of a publication, centered around the Artist’s development and innovation between 2008 and 2018. Recollectionary is on view at Salon Ninety One from the 19th of September until the 20th of October 2018.
RELATED TO THIS EXHIBIT:
RECOLLECTIONARY | An Interview with Artist Paul Senyol
by Natasha Norman
I have been coming to visit Paul at his studio in Woodstock for some years now. As I turn off the main road, bannered with newer, brighter street art, and begin to meander the one-way street network the homely scratches and scribbles of the local community take over. I see traces of Paul’s early street works and also notice the things that have been erased.
He always greets with a bright smile no matter how little sleep he’s getting as a new father. Our conversation traverses the familiar and foreign territory of a new body of work in progress as I sip tea and consider the canvases in various states of progress before us.
Natasha Norman: Your show is called Recollectionary, it’s about thinking back on the last ten years of making work. How do thoughts about the past come into these new works for the show?
Paul Senyol: The works are straddling something, recollecting those thoughts and ideas and shapes and forms and colours. Some of the works are literal reinterpretations of some of the older works. I’ve taken an old painting from 2010 or 2011 and quite intentionally replicated certain colours, certain patterns and shapes. The viewer would really have to scrounge around to get the original reference, I think. But I’m being quite intentional.
NN: And how does that feel?
PS: It’s cool. I like looking back. I like assimilating. I like putting things back together. I’m enjoying it. I think I’d like to paint a bit more that way in the future. I’d like to think a bit more about the history, in a sense, a bit more about the amount of visual information floating around in my head (laughs). I feel like those older works have given a spark to what’s happening here.
NN: That links to some of the things we discussed when we looked back at your works. You were showing me images of walls that you’d done and then said, ‘oh, that’s no longer there,’ or, ‘this still exists.’ In the street, there’s a very real process, over time that edits.
PS: I always like the idea that someone is going to peel bits of wall away in Woodstock, like a cross-section, and expose layers of paint. It happens in many places but particularly in Woodstock it will be a Recollectionary of those conversations or passers by, which is quite interesting.
NN: You layer your works quite hectically from start to finish. In the process the surfaces are quite transformed. Does that mimic the process on the street?
PS: I suppose it does. That’s not the intention when I start the painting, to mimic that process, but I think subconsciously I just do.
NN: It’s a process you have an affinity with.
PS: Ja. I suppose it just comes with being very DIY and self-taught. That’s my process of reinterpretation and assimilation, I suppose. In terms of painting, that’s just the way it finds expression.
NN: Do you find the process thrilling?
PS: Ja, ja, ja. It’s quite intimidating at the start, when you just start. For me it can be quite intimidating, having this canvas, but even just having the drawing in front of me is a bit of an exhale. And then when I just start to play a little bit with the first brushstrokes that are more unintentional at the start: washes or the first brush marks, as long as I’ve started that then I can start to think a little more clearly about what’s going to happen on the canvas. Even though I have the drawing, it’s still quite spontaneous when I paint. Stuff changes. Colours change and the stuff that I’ve traced there will not be one hundred percent as it’s mapped out there.
NN: You said that having the drawing there made you exhale, with relief. But you didn’t always have the drawing as part of your process.
PS: I think I discovered that way of working in about 2011. So it’s quite a few years down the road now. That’s primarily how I paint now. To some degree I do still dip back into spontaneity and I don’t worry too much about what I’m thinking. I’m rather just going to paint and see. That’s quite a cool way of painting for me.
NN: What do you see as the function of installation or sculpture in your exhibitions?
PS: In shows previously I have worked in installation and I would like to carry some of that stuff forward. They function as reference points. I have a few objects that I want to show, I don’t see them as particularly part of an installation but they are sculptural. As objects they have a shape and form that is interesting.
I’ve taken these objects out of their natural environment and put them in a temporary space that informs the work.
NN: People are forced to consider those objects differently in your exhibitions. If they had seen them on the street they might have walked past or ignored them.
PS: Ja. I don’t know if I showed you that nice, big, fat piece of sidewalk? No, I told you about it. It’s incredibly heavy, so heavy. I just managed to get it into the back of the car without, like, chopping my toes off. And I’ve got this great, old skateboard, which was my first skateboard, which was my Dad’s first skateboard. I don’t know how many years old, but it’s got clay wheels. In the gallery space there will be a place for me to paint on the wall and have these objects on the wall and then one or two paintings that I feel would fit with those objects.
NN: So it’s about these conversations between things, I see that as a theme throughout your body of work: you wrote letters to Andrew that you delivered to each other.
PS: The Woodstock Post.
NN: Yes, they were physical objects you exchanged as well as having conversations with other writers on the street: graffiti phrases that each of you wrote responses to on public walls. So the space of your work has changed but you still want to encourage a conversation to happen in the mind of the viewer.
PS: When I first tried to explore the gallery route I got rejected. People didn’t want to see my work or show it. So my reason for putting work on the street was, well if they’re not going to see it in the galleries then they can just see it on the sidewalk or street corner. So that’s how I started exhibiting. I felt my work was worthy to be seen and people might like it. If they want to see it they can and if they don’t then they can just look away. So ja, that engagement with the viewer, for me, is important. If a painting moves someone – they really like it – then I think I’m succeeding as a painter, as a creative, in doing something. Not everybody is going to enjoy it, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea, abstract painting, but I think that within abstract painting there is something of a feeling that gets ‘conversed’ through the work. I supposed I’m after that.
NN: By ‘a feeling’ do you mean that through your work you’re trying to connect with something in someone else?
PS: No, it’s not like I’m trying to connect with them. It’s that I want them to see something beautiful. Painting for me is about making something beautiful and making beautiful things. If someone says that about my work then I’m happy. Then I’ve succeeded and they’ve got it.
NN: They’ve understood.
PS: Ja. They’ve understood. I’m not necessarily about people saying, “What is it?” Or, “What is this?” “Tell me what’s going on here.” There are figurative elements but they’re radically abstracted. I know where I’ve drawn that source from, maybe a book or a magazine or on my travels through the city, but people don’t necessarily need to know that, it’s not what I’m after. That’s not interesting to me.
NN: It also seems to be about slowing down the gaze. To consider things, usually thought of as disposable as quite beautiful.
PS: Ja, very much so. I like that: the edges, the margins. I like the spaces in between. Yes. That’s interesting to explore.
NN: Have you always liked those spaces?
PS: Probably. I think skateboarding initially highlighted those spaces to me: those places and those objects and those things. So that’s where that connection comes in.
We begin to look at a work on the wall of his studio.
NN: What is it called?
NN: Margymnal? I don’t know what that means.
PS: Ha ha! Nobody does! Only me. It’s a title that I made up. A lot of the starting points for these paintings have also been older works where I’ve changed the titles or played with titles a bit. So Margymnal is the same as Recollectionary, it’s two words in one. Margymnal is ‘hymnal’ and ‘margin’ put together. So that’s the title. Bit of a tongue twister.
NN: How do you decide on a title?
PS: I like to give them names, like the name of a person. I like that part of a title. I like a title to carry some sort of weight, as opposed to just untitled works. I like to give my works a character. The work already has character but the title, I’m hoping, complements or highlights that character.
NN: We’ve conducted this interview at the end of a long day of painting. Do you have any concluding thoughts on the act of painting itself?
PS: In a day or two’s time there’s going to be something on that canvas that wasn’t there before. Painting is exploring and, not scientific necessarily, but pretty awesome. To create something is … ja … I’d like to think about that some more.
Natasha Norman is a practicing artist and freelance writer. She has written and published on Contemporary South African Artists in both popular and peer reviewed journals. She has worked with artists on text for their exhibitions since 2007 and currently lectures part-time at Universities and Institutions throughout South Africa. On her days off, she surfs.
“I am a big fan of daydreaming. I try to let my imagination run wild. Where else can you be completely free but in your own mind?” – Kirsten Beets, 2018
Dreamland is Kirsten Beets’ fourth solo exhibition at Salon Ninety One. Her ongoing investigation into human relationships with spaces of leisure imaginatively comments on the distancing between people and the wildness of the natural world. She playfully depicts tigers and deer in images of parks and topiaries and inserts a wry humour into her scenes of swimmers and sunbathers on flat picture planes of blue, pink and green.
Throughout her series, Beets delights in constructing safe moments of viewing and dreaming. The works are characterised by the overall feeling of a summer lethargy, which she uses to enable the sense of ‘dreamy versions of a real place.’ What Beets seems to suggest by way of her imaginative Dreamland is the possibility that a taming of place, plant and species in human leisure spaces has done little to suppress the wildness in human nature. It is in the daydreams of the artist that we are able to entertain this idea.
Included for the first time on exhibition are watercolour monotypes and ceramic sculptures. Prescribed by a playful and loose approach to the medium these works further the narrative of dreamland by being moments of intuitive creation that mirror the act of surrendering to dreaming. Her monotypes succeed in disrupting the photorealism of her oil paintings with a dream-like use of a Technicolor palette and loose marks. Her ceramic works populate the gallery like the imaginative elements in her paintings. While the majority of her oil paintings continue to play with the figure verses ground relationship, her watercolour monotypes realise a hazy sense of a reality seen through a sleep-laden memory of place.
Dreamland surprises and delights the viewer with imaginative interjections into ordinary life making the everyday a little more remarkable. Beets’ choice of subjects, medium and use of colour provokes a playful comment on spaces of leisure and an amusing look at the assumption of tameness within contemporary society.
Salon Ninety One is a Cape Town based gallery, presenting works by emerging and established contemporary artists of all disciplines, passionate about developing a new brand of local talent. The gallery specializes in accessible contemporary South African Art, Design and illustration. Founded during 2008 by Monique du Preez, (Married name, Foord), curator and director to the space and its highly energized exhibition program. The gallery presented a selection of contemporary work ranging from painting, textile, print, drawing, and to a smaller degree photography and sculpture, with a special emphasis on collaborative projects and bridging the traditional divide between disciplines. Salon91 offered international and local collectors, as well as first-time buyers unique investment opportunities into the emerging South African art market.
Salon Ninety One exhibited at the Turbine Art Fair at the Turbine Hall in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the fifth consecutive year. Visitors to the gallery’s booth did enjoy works by their regular Salon Ninety One TAF favourites such as Amber Moir, Andrew Sutherland, Black Koki, Bruce Mackay, Cathy Layzell, Georgina Berens, Kirsten Beets, Kirsten Sims, Mareli Esterhuizen, Paul Senyol, Heidi Fourie, and Zarah Cassim, to mention only a few, as well as exciting newcomers to the fair, including Chloe Townsend, Berry Meyer, Katrine Claassens, Lili Probart, Matthew Prins, NEBNIKRO, Renée Rossouw, Sarah Pratt, Tara Deacon & more. Expect to see collage, painting, photography, ceramics, monotypes, reverse glass works, and drawings, executed in a rich winter’s palette, articulated with cool midnight hues, and bursts of warm jewel colours. The space did feature large and medium sized works by the various exhibiting artists, as well as two group projects, including a collection of diminutive works.
INSTALLATION PREVIEW IN TURBINE #3 | ‘SHEATHED’ by JENNA BARBE