24.07.2015 – 15.08.2015
Released in 1966, Paint it Black — the Rolling Stones’ cult anthem about Jagger taunting the world to chromatically match his mood — remains iconic to a generation of young bloods today.
The romance of the rock n roll lifestyle, the lingering smell of teen spirit and the sumptuous nihilism of the Stones feels loosely applicable to this exhibition of young South African painters (although the works make no angst-riddled statements about metaphorical self-immolation). Instead, the title unites a collection of works that revel in the dynamic potential of paint and the metaphorical language of colour and emotion.
The show features Kirsten Lilford, Jordan Sweke, Zarah Cassim, Alice Toich, Daniel Nel, Heidi Fourie, Alexandra Karakashian, and Mia Chaplin who scumble, scratch, sweep and slide paint in a manner that is youthful, but subdued.
In fact, the exhibition twinges with nostalgia for swathes of art history that can feel somewhat lost in post-modernity. Alice Toich’s portrait of Laura Windvogel (lounging with Anthuriums in her tarry pleather outfit) and a selection of vanitas-revival still lifes (replete with skulls, fruit and other symbolically kitsch and self-referential object d’art) harks back to painterly traditions of the past.
The denuded landscapes that Daniel Nel leaks onto his almost monochomatic canvases bleakly reminds the viewer of a Sunday afternoon in the middle of nowhere and Heidi Fourie’s muted blooms and sashaying palm leaves are quietly despairing; the analogue glitch she includes (an imagined rendering error where the image splits into a row of lines) cuts through one’s suspension of disbelief, melding medium and message.
Expect Karakashian’s signature glutinous abstractions that play with the seeping and clumping of oil paint, Chaplin’s splashed and rehashed floral still life trope and Sweke’s opaquely graphic allusions to the natural world.