Re-opening Plato’s Cave: The Legacy of Kevin Atkinson

SMAC Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa
15 Oct 2016 - 19 Nov 2016

Re-opening Plato’s Cave: The Legacy of Kevin Atkinson

SMAC Gallery presents Re-opening Plato’s Cave: The Legacy of Kevin Atkinson curated by Marilyn Martin and Jo-Anne Duggan.

The exhibiton follows on from the retrospective exhibition of Atkinson’s (1939-2007) oeuvre held at the Iziko South African National Gallery in 2013 and includes works from each period of Atkinson’s extensive career as an artist, teacher and philosopher.

Opening on Saturday, 15 October at 11h00 in Stellenbosch.

The late Kevin Atkinson was one of the most energetic and ambitious of the younger generation of South African artists who emerged in the early 1960s. Born in Cape Town in 1939, Atkinson’s entire career, apart from short sojourns abroad, was based in Cape Town. Awarded a Sir Abe Bailey scholarship, he studied at the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town, where he obtained his BA Fine Art degree in 1963.

Atkinson embraced the plurality of forms and concepts that emerged in international contemporary art after 1945. Abstract Expressionism, Hard Edge painting, Op Art, Land art, Conceptual art and Performance art were all grist to his mill, but abstraction, painting and experimentation with new materials always remained his main interests. Heading the Michaelis School of Fine Art’s Department of Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) from early 1972, Atkinson became synonymous with a spirit of adventurous experiment at the School, inspiring the likes of Marlene Dumas, Shelley Sacks and Gary Schneider, who represent only a few of the more prominent of his former students now working internationally.

Just prior his death in 2007 Atkinson established a Trust with the goal of preserving his underground studio, which he named Plato’s Cave. He conceived of it as a site of artistic debate and a place to make his work, as well as that of his late wife Patricia Pierce-Atkinson (1942-1994), accessible to students, curators and a wider public.

SMAC recently exhibited Kevin Atkinson: The Arena Paintings as a special presentation at the FNB Joburg Art Fair in September 2016.




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