Tag Archives: Zarah Cassim

GUISE OF REALITY

02.08 – 13.09.2017

An exhibition of recent paintings by Zarah Cassim

For her second solo exhibition Guise of Reality, Zarah Cassim has been reading Dostoevky’s 1864 novella Notes from Underground. This Russian set 1800s rambling memoir of a fictional narrator is a thinly veiled attack on Western Philosophy and proposes an alternative consciousness constituted by the anti-hero archetype. It is essentially a modern dystopian text heralding an “existential attitude” – disorientation in the face of a confusing and meaningless world. [1]

It is perhaps curious that a young, contemporary South African painter is reading such a text into the fabric of her paintings, but the act reflects a gesture related to more recent ideas about post-postmodernism, what American author David Foster Wallace (1993) has popularised as “new sincerity.” In line with Dostoevky’s criticism of nihilist in 1860s Russia, “new sincerity” challenges the cynical postmodern view, characterised by irony. [2]

Cassim’s interest in all of this relates to two distinct notions that Dostoevky’s text and Wallace’s critique describe: rebellion and disorientation. Counter to nihilist despair, Cassim sees this rebellion and disorientation as a process of unveiling. She uses the metaphorical forms of natural landscape as the subject for her investigative painting process that is centred on notions of perception. She seeks to evoke a space of sensitivity and reflection for the viewer in her works: the longing of a place just beyond reach or the mute encounter with a blurred horizon. The traditionally held cultural belief in nature and landscape as ‘truth’ (the real or untouched) is relied upon here. She appropriates allusions to the natural as ‘free,’ knowing that the true dynamic of the relationship between human and nature is more complexly related to issues of power, wealth, security and identity. In the tension between these two visions she exposes how reality is constructed through a veil of illusions:

The dynamic of the relationship between human and nature is a space where the illusion we perceive as reality is exposed. [3]

Like Dostoevsky’s use of a fictional narrator, Cassim uses her painting surface to explore an alternative consciousness, rooted in disorientation and fashioned in a rebellion against solely representational marks upon canvas, against inherited modes of constructing order, against the security of seeing: in short, in rebellion with the guise of reality itself.

The artifice of painted spaces is made evident 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. Her colour palette is moody, dominated by mysterious dark, inky blues and magenta. Hers is not a utopian project but a darkly imagined space where moments of lightness and darkness hold sway.

Cassim’s interest in the human relationship to nature is grounded in the perceptual practice of painting itself. Her natural landscapes are abstracted to the point that one perceives only what one wishes to see, thus identifying the perceptual play of real and imagined. Cassim’s titling of works also points to this perceptual quandary, being at times ambiguous: Amount of Something, Floating Points and other times specific, yet abstract: Dusk, In the Water, Shadows.

Our postmodernist discourses have successfully exposed how the acts of ordering that we do engender – the genealogical categorisation of plants or the colour coding of our books – these things are only illusions of order and stability, futile gestures that appease us momentarily in the face of a constantly shifting world. Cassim, in line with the contemporary turn, is a sincere analyst of the shifting surface – the place where as an artist she can engage the illusionary nature of perception in order to challenge philosophical notions about reality.

Text: Shifting Surface by Natasha Norman

[1] For further reading see Kaufmann, Walter (1956). Existentialism From Dostoevsky to Sartre. New York: Meridian Books. [2] For a pithy look at this cultural idea see Fitzgerald, Jonathan D. (November 20, 2012). “Sincerity, Not Irony, Is Our Age’s Ethos.” The Atlantic. Retrieved 27.07.17 available here

ARTWORKS:


 

EXHIBIT INSTALLATION VIEWS:

 

TURBINE ART FAIR 2017

13 – 16.07.2107

BOOTH # GH14 | TURBINE ART FAIR

The Turbine Art Fair has established itself as a significant event on the SA Arts Calendar, presenting rare and crucial opportunities to Collectors and Artists alike. This Fair has won us over through its fantastic electric atmosphere, its high level of organization, and most notably in remaining absolutely committed to its intention to promote emerging talent and to nurture a new collectors base, ideas which resonate greatly with the core philosophy of our gallery.

Since its inception in 2008, Salon Ninety One has served as a platform for both emerging and established South African artists of all disciplines to gain exposure through sharing their creativity and vision. The Artists exhibiting with Salon Ninety One have all excelled in their respective fields, with their names quickly gaining recognition across South Africa and abroad. This year we are proud to be representing Andrew Sutherland, Black Koki, Cathy Layzell, Heidi Fourie, Jordan Sweke, Kirsten Beets, Kirsten Sims, Linsey Levendall, Paul Senyol and Zarah Cassim. These Artists embody the gallery’s signature style and reflect the astounding growth and promise of local talent.

Salon Ninety One will be exhibiting at the Turbine Art Fair, for the fourth consecutive year bringing accessible, affordable contemporary art from Cape Town to both seasoned collectors and first-time buyers in Johannesburg. Visit us at Booth GH14, Turbine Hall from the 13th to the 16th of July 2017. Please call 021-424-6930 for further information.

 

ARTWORKS:

ANDREW SUTHERLAND

 

BLACK KOKI

 

CATHY LAYZELL

 

HEIDI FOURIE

 

JORDAN SWEKE

 

KIRSTEN BEETS

 

KIRSTEN SIMS

 

LINSEY LEVENDALL

 

PAUL SENYOL

 

ZARAH CASSIM


 

LINK RELATED TO THIS EXHIBIT:

 

Turbine Art Fair | HERE


 

STELLAR

05.12.15 – 23.01.2016

Stellar Show Design_Lightbox_Lo-Res

Designed by Nicole Dalton

Dear Art Lovers & Collectors,

As we reach the end of another year we would like to thank you for your loyal support, patronage & enthusiasm.

According to our annual tradition, 2015 concludes with a salon-style exhibition featuring accessible, affordable artwork across a broad range of mediums by some of Salon Ninety One’s favourite emerging and established local creatives. The exhibition is scheduled to run until the last week of January 2016. Artworks will be rotated regularly & after the opening day, works may be taken home on the day of purchase, so come treat yourself & your loved ones!

This year we will be supporting The Bookery (www.thebookery.org.za). The gallery & artists will be donating 10% of all sales towards building a library & running a creative workshop with the kids at Usasazo Secondary School in Khayelitsha. Everyone is invited to donate books – specifically Xhosa & Afrikaans language, as well as Art-related books.

Please join us on Saturday the 5th of December from 11am until 3pm for our final exhibition of 2015. It is going to be a festive day of STELLAR art, sweet treats by the lovely artist/baker Alice Toich, beer by Leopold7 and so much more…

We look forward to celebrating a truly fantastic year with our artists, friends, and clients.

Warm Regards,
Monique & The Salon Ninety One Team

 

ARTWORKS:

ADRIAAN DIEDERICKS


ALEXANDRA KARAKASHIAN


ALICE TOICH


AMBER SMITH


ANDREW SUTHERLAND


ANDRZEJ URBANSKI


BANELE KHOZA


BRUCE MACKAY


CASSANDRA LEIGH JOHNSON


CRAIG ACTUALLY SMITH


DANI LOUREIRO


EMILY JANE LONG


FRANK CONRADIE


FRANS SMIT


GABRIELLE RAAFF


GERHARD HUMAN


HAIDEE NEL


HANNO VAN ZYL


HEIDI FOURIE


JADE KLARA


JEAN DE WET


JENNY PARSONS


JOH DEL


JUAN VOGES


KIRSTEN BEETS


KIRSTEN LILFORD


KIRSTEN SIMS


LARA FELDMAN


LEIGH TUCKNISS


LIZELLE KRUGER


LIZZA LITTLEWORT


LUCY STUART-CLARKE


MAAIKE BAKKER


MARNA HATTINGH


MONA


NEILL WRIGHT


NICOLE DALTON


NINA TORR


PAUL SENYOL


PIERRE LE RICHE


RIKUS FERREIRA


RONEL DE JAGER


STEPHANE CONRADIE


TESS METCALF


UNATHI MKONTO


WILHELM SAAYMAN


ZARAH CASSIM

 

PAINT IT BLACK

24.07 – 15.08.2015

DSC_7636-Pano

A group exhibition of young South African painters including Kirsten Lilford, Jordan Sweke, Zarah Cassim, Alice Toich, Daniel Nel, Heidi Fourie, Alexandra Karakashian, and Mia Chaplin.

 

INSTALLATION VIEWS:

 

ARTWORKS: 

ALEXANDRA KARAKASHIAN:

 

ALICE TOICH:

 

DANIEL MARK NEL:

 

HEIDI FOURIE:

 

JORDAN SWEKE:

 

KIRSTEN LILFORD:

 

MIA CHAPLIN:

 

ZARAH CASSIM:

 

PAINT IT BLACK WINDOW

Zarah Cassim

“I confront a sense of confusion and disorientation in an absurd world.”

Zarah Cassim is a painter concerned with notions of perception. She uses her medium to affect a viewer’s encounter with spatial illusion. Her works foreground a visual rebellion against systemic norms by evolving as visual riddles about pictorial space.

Woven into the theme of unveiling the artifice of reality, is a concern with natural forms and spaces. Cassim appropriates the natural space as a metaphor for an existential attitude. It is in natural forms that she finds the vehicle for a sense of disorientation: the reflection of a chaotic or absurd world, which marks a breaking point for the human condition. Some of her surfaces revel in the flat beauty of the painted mark itself. As a viewer we are seduced by the texture and material of her tool of illusion. Other works evoke a dream-like, ungraspable landscape that threatens to dissolve at any concrete claim over form.

Cassim graduated with an Honours in Fine Art from the University of Cape Town in 2014. She was a Sasol New Signature finalist in 2013. In 2015 she was a finalist at the ABSA L’Atelier competition and also exhibited at the Turbine Art fair in Johannesburg with Salon 91. She held a solo exhibition at 99Loop in Cape Town titled These Spaces/These Places also in 2015 and has exhibited at various South African galleries, including the KKNK Absa gallery in 2016. In 2017 she participates in The Other Art Fair in New York and will host her second solo exhibition at Salon 91 titled The Guise of Reality.