CTAF 2015

SMAC Art Gallery Cape Town

Deep Chine

Peter Eastman
Deep Chine, Invitation ,


Luiza Cachalia
Tippi 2, Oil on Canvas ,

SEE LISTING Between Object and Place

Helen Pritchard
Between Object and Place, Installation View ,

SEE LISTING Scandinavian Man

Simon Stone
Scandinavian Man, Oil on Canvas , 117 x 94 cm

SEE LISTING 'Proximity' Invitation Image

Jake Aikman
'Proximity' Invitation Image, Oil on Canvas ,


In-Fin Art Building, Corner of Buitengracht and Buitensingel Street, 8001


Hours: Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:00 | Saturday 09:00 - 15:00 | Closed Sunday and public holidays


Peter Eastman at SMAC Art Gallery Cape Town

Cape Town based artist, Peter Eastman has earned a reputation as an experimental painter, using a variety of techniques and media to constantly expand his practice. Eastman’s substrate of choice is aluminium, to which he applies amongst other things; chrome, enamel, resin, wax, graphite and oil paint – reworking, scraping, incising and profiling the surface to create unique paintings poised between representation and abstraction.

For Eastman, his surroundings and environment have a profound influence on his work.  Subjects are taken from lived interiors, cityscapes, studio views, family photographs and landscapes that are known to him. Eastman disassembles the image and reconstitutes it to form an entirely new picture which bears a vague semblance to the original, but for the viewer there is an uncanny familiarity and connection to the content, which is suffused with opaque moods and dreamlike memory. New shapes and forms emerge through the process of gradual fragmentation. Despite his ambitious and bold employment of base-colours in the new works, Eastman’s compositions remain mostly mono- or duo-chromatic. Subtle lines and shapes are articulated by thin ridges of paint or resin which disrupt the surface, giving the works dimension and complexity in relief. This allows for different views and interpretations depending on the light and angle from which the work is approached.

In the current digital age, where technology is widely accessible and various digital image editing programs allow for infinite forms of visual manipulation, the reconfiguration of images is widespread. It is possible to produce a myriad of special effects such as blasting, blurring, pixelating and other forms of distortion which new abstract painting often attempts to interpret or mimic, resulting in superficially seductive, ‘re-modernised’ imagery. However, these works lack some of the intangible qualities which lie at the heart of real painting. Peter Eastman’s paintings retain a painterly quality where the sensitivity, brushstroke, touch and feel of the artist are inherent to the work, thereby transcending the intriguing technical innovations which are in themselves original and distinct.

08 May 2014 - 21 June 2014

Luiza Cachalia at SMAC Art Gallery Cape Town

SMAC Art Gallery presents, 'Don’t Jump off Bridge', the first solo exhibition by Johannesburg-based artist Luiza Cachalia.

'Don’t Jump off Bridge' comprises a series of portraits of female protagonists in iconic cinematic roles. A low resolution, cropped film-still downloaded from the internet and reproduced serves as the artist’s source material. The selection of images is very specific, focusing on a complex and psychologically charged aspect and moment within the narrative. Cachalia’s stylistic interpretation of the moment critique suspends reality and removes the characters from the context of the film, imbuing them with her own questions surrounding feminine beauty and ‘madness’. 

As the title suggests, and in the tone of Almodóvar’s black comedy; Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), Cachalia’s leading ladies are on the brink of emotionally acting out or losing their temper. Repressed and neurotic heroines struggling to cope with the pressures of womanhood could easily be misinterpreted as helpless, hysterical and ‘hormonally irrational’ stereotypes.This perception is heightened by the choice of ultra-feminine, pale-skinned, archetypal Hollywood movie stars, sensitively rendered in delicate lines and toned pastel hues, interspersed with bright flashes of colour. As a granddaughter of the recently deceased, highly revered South African struggle hero and leading woman’s rights activist, Cachalia appears to be challenging the expectations of her audience. Cachalia, however, belongs to a post-political generation of young South African artists and offers a fresh take on traditional feminist themes. Cachalia’s characters are not meant to be deemed as tragic, sad or less stable than a physically domineering ‘superwoman’ in the postmodern 1970s sense of the word. According to Cachalia, 'getting upset is not backing down…the display of stress, anxiety and sadness should be seen as a protest against conformity, neatness and safe role-playing.' The paintings on exhibition convey female grace, poise and beauty, which is truly mesmerising as it unravels, heightening their nonconformist vulnerability and melancholia.      

This exhibition aligns Cachalia alongside current international female painters and interpreters of contemporary society such as Karen Kilimnik, Elizabeth Peyton and Chantal Joffe. These artists draw on traditions from Alice Neel and Alex Katz - implying and hinting, rather than mirroring reality. Cachalia’s paintings are restrained in only capturing the necessary detail without excessive brushwork. Simple lines, sketchiness and celebrity subjects draw inevitable comparisons to Pop Art. Despite seemingly casual, loose, and random strokes, the paintings contain a deceptively emotional and expressive depth. Distortion, cropping, elongation and an emphasis of the awkwardness within the characters, serve to heighten the psychological effect. Despite the torment and agony, the paled-down, watered-down, vamp-like heroines project a strength within their placid beauty and peacefulness.


Recognizable and famous movie stars in legendary roles make Cachalia’s work immediately accessible to the widest audience. Nonetheless, the subjective selection of precise moments and images coupled with a delicate, sensitive and intuitive adaption of the personae, reveals the artist’s own vulnerability and presence in the work and a personal identification with the subjects. Luiza Cachalia’s paintings are immediately attractive and seductive in a Pop Art vein, yet they contain an ineffable quality and mystique which transcends and endures.

01 August 2013 - 05 September 2013

Helen Pritchard at SMAC Art Gallery Cape Town

SMAC Art Gallery presents 'Between Object and Place', a solo exhibition by London-based South African artist Helen A Pritchard.

Except for a single work, a hand-moulded bronze relief of the word ‘breeze’ – a reference to the popular South African soap brand from the eighties, the exhibition is comprised of objects, paintings and sculptures with a decided geometric abstract twist. 

Commercial packaging and consumerism informs the conceptual and formal basis for the exhibition. Spectator-awareness is another important aspect as Pritchard purposefully ‘packages’ the work to encourage participation and to entice a dialogue with the viewer. 

In 'Between Object and Place', Pritchard eagerly explores numerous dualisms: the difference between High and Low culture, hand-made and manufactured, figurative and abstract, intuitive and considered, structured and free-formed. The artist describes her inspiration for this body of work as the 'languages of graphics in advertising, design and gestalt, form and balance of the everyday' that she encountered growing up in the 1970s and 1980s in South Africa. Pritchard has taken inspiration from these visual languages and focused on 'the decisions one has to consider within the formal constraints of paintings and its traditions.' By using everyday packaging as her point of departure, Pritchard’s aim is to bring advertising back into the context of the gallery. 'This constant play between High and Low culture finds us with an overall sublime experience of Minimalism, Modernism, Pop, postmodern appropriation and fetish.'

An intuitive selection process and experimentation is a critically intrinsic part of Pritchard’s art-making. The geometric layering of pigments onto a canvas provides depth. As the artist makes clear, 'the work becomes itself, an object which claims an aura via its layered histories.' There is an ambience of colours, which create 'spatial value, perspective and depth through this immersive build up.' Through this process, abstracted new objects materialize. Pritchard allows a freedom of interpretation of what is represented on the surface, often alluding to the figurative as well. For Pritchard, the history of layering the materials can be physically seen in the construction and deconstruction of the work, as she describes; 'the editing process creates fragments of images and responds to memory of object and place.' 

01 August 2013 - 05 September 2013

Simon Stone at SMAC Art Gallery Cape Town

Simon Stone’s new series of paintings portrays a personal exploration of  elusive memories, dreams and recollections - the silhouette of a receding landscape, framed cityscapes, lone figures or female forms, distinctly recurring motifs, lines, holes, slices and brief stops. Compositionally the paintings are split and fragmented, divided into a series of singular conversations and moments caught in their own time. Simple and complex, the paintings are other-worldly and magical, while remaining quietly every-day.

Stone explains his creative process: ‘I do not think about meaning, it comes out in the end, what is meaningful to me…I spot something and I take it further’.

As the exhibition title suggests, ideas are ‘thrown together’. Seemingly unrelated objects, people and places, each with their own identity and meaning for the artist are placed together on the canvas - intuitively structured and fluidly executed in ‘the way it had to happen’ so that‘it could not have been anything else’. There is a juxtaposing of separate ideas and visual commentaries, but these are tied together and threaded by the artist in his own internalised vocabulary and  library of references. Unconsciously or not, Stone’s selection is very clear to him. His ‘visual message’ is meticulously assembled.

08 December 2011 - 31 January 2012

Jake Aikman at SMAC Art Gallery Cape Town

The title of Jake Aikman’s third solo exhibition; Proximity is as ambiguous and mysterious as his atmospheric, meditative paintings. On one level, the artist deals with people’s proximity and connection to nature, whilst emphasizing the insignificance and vulnerability of the individual in relation to the overwhelming power and magnitude of our natural environment; forest, desert or ocean. Vulnerability, emptiness – vast open spaces – the subjects contained in or those standing in close Proximity to Aikman’s paintings are forced to reconsider and contemplate the ultimate solitude of their existence. Intensely conscious of modern-day environmental concerns, a sense of impending danger pervades. Aikman creates tension around the moment he has chosen to capture, the recent, the imminent, the immediate, as well as a tangible Proximity to that which lies beneath, beyond and hidden from view. Despite their monumentality and omniscience, the works are intimate, poetic and enticing as the viewer becomes part of the bigger picture. The relativity of perception and distance serves as a metaphor – the closer one gets to the object (or the truth), the more inaccessible or distant it becomes.

13 October 2011 - 30 November 2011