The show invited visitors to explore its playful, off-beat take on home decoration – the artworks created a space that wass reminiscent of home, yet somehow distorted, as if in a dream. Grobler wove it all together with multiple connections: her fence-like constructions spanned the exterior and spilled into the exhibition space, while the interior was cocooned by her mural drawing. Her brightly coloured constructions were at once non-threatening and impossible to ignore – Lichen Ghosts reminiscent of the building's past occupants.
As a participant of Spier's Artist Patronage Programme, Grobler was an apt choice for curating the first exhibition of the newly restored structure, especially in light of the collaborative focus of much of her work, which resonates with the vision for the Werf. Decor-Z thus forms part of Grobler’s continued exploration of the connections and exchanges between people, artworks and their respective contexts.
Grobler invited five prominent artists to participate: Mark Rautenbach, Marlise Keith, Barbara Wildenboer, Jeanne Hoffman and Daniella Mooney. Selected for their use of specific materials, and elements of craft and repetition in their work, their pieces created fresh conversations with Grobler's own work, as well as with the space they inhabited.
Liza Grobler (b. 1974) lives in Cape Town, South Africa. She playfully blurs the traditions of craft and fine art, breathing new life into discarded, mass-produced materials through traditional craft techniques like crochet, beading and weaving. Her work explores the tangible qualities of materials and the connections between people, artworks and the world around us; her installations creating dialogues with the spaces in which they are displayed. The viewer is encouraged to travel with her into an imaginary world where fact and fiction become one, everything is in flux, and anything is possible.
Grobler often embarks on ambitious collaborative projects with fellow artists; constructing objects, images and installations through interaction and exchange. Gallery exhibitions, projects and interventions are integrated components that cross-reference one another.
To date, she has had eleven acclaimed solo exhibitions and initiated numerous site-specific and collaborative interventions in South Africa and abroad. Her Fabricated Landscapes (2014) collection of paintings from her last solo show, Blindfolded Line, Dancing Through Time, was recently acquired by the Spier Collection.
Grobler is a participant in Spier’s Artist Patronage Programme, and her latest publication of work, Blindfolded Line, Dancing Through Time, is available for sale at the Wine Tasting Centre.
Barbara Wildenboer (b. 1973) explores both the academic and psychological implications of habitat, with much of her work created in response to the planet’s pending ecological crisis. She works in an interdisciplinary manner, across mediums such as hand-blown glass, sound installation, digital animation, collage, photomontage and photo-construction.
Wildenboer recently held her eighth solo exhibition entitled The Lotus Eaters at the Oliewenhuis Art Museum in Bloemfontein. She has been awarded several international residencies in Jordan, Palestine, Colombia and Malaysia, and has participated in several group exhibitions both locally and internationally. In 2011 she was selected as one of the top 20 finalists for the Sovereign African Arts Award, for which she received the Public Choice Prize. Wildenboer obtained a master's degree in Fine Art (with distinction) from the Michaelis School of Art at the University of Cape Town in 2007.
Daniella Mooney (b. 1986) has been described as a shaman, a magician and an alchemist: she creates spell-binding works that make the intangible tangible. Working with stone, wood, crystal and moss, Mooney creates whimsical sculptures and installations that invoke tension between the indoor and outdoor – bringing natural materials into exhibition spaces that would not normally accommodate them. Mooney’s artistic process is a cyclical one, often taking elements from past exhibitions and reworking them into new artworks with transformed meanings.
In her short career she has already held a number of solo exhibitions, and has work included in the collections of Ellerman House, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, and 21c Museum in the USA. Both of Mooney's Decor-Z artworks belong to the Spier Collection.
Jeanne Hoffman (b. 1978) hails from Cape Town, but is well-travelled, having participated in residencies in Finland, the Netherlands and Belgium. These experiences inform the subject matter of her work, which references journeys and transformations, and explores the emotional and socio-cultural dimensions of place. She describes her approach as building 'temporary shelters for thoughts - wandering from one place to another, collecting observations, memories and meaning'.
Her installations and ceramic and wood objects, which begin as sketches, are often realised through the fusion of found objects with traditional sculpting materials. Hoffman’s latest collection Shipwrecked Cargoes (2013) was produced during her time at the European Ceramic Work Centre (EKWC) in the Netherlands, and is inspired by shipwrecked objects that have been altered by the ocean, and thrown together in random formations on the shore. These pieces serve as a metaphor for the fragmented culture of Cape Town, that has coagulated from various European and African cultures that have 'washed up' and collided over the centuries.
Hoffman has held numerous solo and group exhibitions, both locally and abroad, and has work included in the collections of Hollard, the Flemish government as well as private collections in the Netherlands.
Mark Rautenbach (b. 1964) is fascinated by the art making process – the refining of matter in both a literal, concrete sense, and also in the figurative sense – the psychological processing associated with being (and becoming) human. He uses various mediums and materials (often including non-organic and non-recyclable matter) and assembles or transforms these into objects that reference human figures – at times, he even recycles his own pieces to form something new. In so doing, his works generate conversation about pertinent issues such as human waste production and our impact on the earth, and South Africa's failing education system. His recent work has included public and site-specific ‘craftivist’ work, with the aim of encouraging public opinion and conversation.
Rautenbach makes art on the side of the art establishment, and is comfortable being an ‘outsider’ artist. He has exhibited in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Mexico and London while lecturing on Art and Design in Cape Town. He is currently studying towards a master’s degree in Design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
Marlise Keith (b. 1972) is a seasoned artist who is known for her mixed media collages, large-scale illustrations rendered in pencil and ink, and most recently, for her embroidered sculptures. Though her body of work is diverse, Keith’s style is identifiable in her idiosyncratic use of personal symbolism – her imagery is inspired by her dreams, her interactions and her life-long experience of painful, chronic migraines. This choice of subject matter gives Keith’s work a surreal quality, which is heightened by a playful use of colour and the juxtaposing of abstract elements with the figurative.
Keith has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions, and was awarded the Internationale Cité des Arts residency in Paris in 2007. In 2011 she collaborated with the Spier Arts Academy on the award-winning Rat Race – a large-scale mosaic installed at Hollard Campus in Johannesburg. She also teaches Art History and Drawing at the academy..
25 January - 6 April 2015
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