Mem Sevenster

Redemption Wall fragment 5 – (detail 9)

Redemption Wall fragment 5 – (detail 9) 2012 - ongoing, Mixed media two-dimensional relief wall work,



Mem Sevenster, Celia de Villiers, Barend Chamberlain, Pierre le Riche and Yolanda Warnich at outoftheCUBE

At outoftheCUBE, our primary question when engaging with an artist’s work is ‘why?’ Why did this body of work come into being? From what thought processes and technical explorations did it develop? 

As viewers, our first encounter with an artwork is the tangible - how an artwork was made, what it looks like, how it connects with us in our own space. Also important is each individual viewer’s experience – contemplating the questions and associations the work may provoke in our heads. But most fascinating are the intangibles – from where in the hidden corners of the artist’s mind did this artwork evolve and why?

The ‘why’ evolves during a period of creative gestation which may be lengthy, and is usually determined by the artist’s unconscious: his or her background, forgotten experiences, early influences, later creative influences, and concerns based on their life environment and remembered experiences. And although there may be conscious, apparently overt reasons for an artist to deal creatively with an issue – such as a social or political situation – what are the unconscious spurs that make this issue rather than another sufficiently significant to the artist that he or she will commit to the artmaking process?

In selecting the artists for this group of exhibitions, our focus was on some aspect of the concept of gestation. Although their works form convincingly resolved individual exhibitions, each is part of a larger thinking and working process one way or another. 

‘Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties’ (Erich Fromm). To make any creative work takes determined on-going mental and physical energy. This is attested to in our artists’ interviews where each took time to give considered and detailed answers (‘in conversation’), showing that, for all, a period of mental gestation is essential in their art making processes, as is time spent exploring techniques and methodology. These two aspects of art making are interlinked, and they continually influence each other, back and forth, while these artists attempt to navigate the unpredictable.

10 December 2013 - 20 February 2014