Gabrielle Raaff

“Our memories of the past are, after all, just fragments of the truth.” It is brave to be tentative as an artist in a world of strong opinions, carefully crafted brands and slick deliveries. And it is this subtle conceptual space of the material qualities of ink, watercolour and oil that defines Gabrielle Raaff’s unique interrogation of her social urban landscape through painting. Technically, there is no drawing first, no sharply defined border. As a result, her paintings are subtle and nuanced, avoiding neat categorization and tending instead towards fluidity and allusion. The different mediums have differing affects on the final image. Raaff notes that although watercolour is gentle and soft, it stains and can’t be removed. In her ink and watercolour works, the history of the mark remains, unlike with her oils where there is more layering involved. Raaff’s persistent theme is the contrast between the individual and the crowd in the urban landscape. Her most recent works explore the quiet psychological landscapes of the artist herself. As is characteristic of her work, the picture plane repeatedly asserts itself against the pull of illusionism, where the recognisable image arises and then dissolves in the terrain of the painting.

Selected Projects & Exhibitions: 2016 – Paper Is You III at Salon91. 2015 – Night Watch, a solo exhibition of recent paintings at Salon91; Cape Town Art Fair with Salon91. 2014 – Rotterdam Art Fair, The Netherlands; Turbine Art Fair with Salon91, Johannesburg; Scintilla: An Alchemy Show at Commune 1 Gallery, Cape Town; Paper is You II, group show, Salon91, Cape Town. 2011 – Realm at Salon 91, Cape Town; People at Chagan Contemporary, London; Paper Is You, group show, Salon91, Cape Town. 2009 – In Our Midst (solo) at The Muti Gallery, Cape Town.


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