The New Church Museum, announces the opening of its fifth exhibition, ‘Thinking, Feeling Head, Heart’ curated by Marilyn Martin.
This exhibition about abstraction maps affinities and connections that emerge between and among particular works and artists held in the museum’s collection. The collection is young, yet it has chronological depth and the acquisition of works by the same artist over a period of time adds to its richness and importance.
It is fascinating to view and consider the work of the precursors of modernism in the company of full-blown modernists and the ‘re-modernism’ (to use Terry Smith’s term) of some members of the new generation. The juxtaposition of works by, for example, Ernest Mancoba and Nicholas Hlobo, Kevin Atkinson and Jan-Henri Booyens, Christo Coetzee and Penny Siopis, Patricia Pierce-Atkinson and Georgina Gratrix, and Walter Battiss and Zander Blom reminds us of the power of historical abstraction and reveals new trajectories for the present generation.
The title, ‘Thinking, Feeling, Head, Heart’, taken from Kevin Atkinson’s c. 1976 painting, sums up the broad directions and possibilities of abstract art, past and present. It is cerebral, rigorous and calculated, also visceral and expressionistic; at the same time, abstract art strives for the cosmic and metaphysical through archetypal form; it abstracts from nature and invents new and vital forms; abstract art is suffused with its own poetry or polemics.
Rethinking abstraction is timely. We are witnessing a profound artistic paradigm shift towards abstract art, both in South Africa and abroad. What might this mean in and for art in South Africa? This is one of a number of questions posed by the exhibition.
With: BILL AINSLIE | KEVIN ATKINSON | AVANT CAR GUARD | WALTER BATTISS | ZANDER BLOM | JAN-HENRI BOOYENS | DINEO SESHEE BOPAPE | WILLEM BOSHOFF | WIM BOTHA | CHRISTO COETZEE | BAREND DE WET | PAUL EDMUNDS | NEL ERASMUS | KENDELL GEERS | JARED GINSBURG | GEORGINA GRATRIX | IAN GROSE | DAN HALTER | NICHOLAS HLOBO | WOPKO JENSMA | ERNEST MANCOBA | MAJA MARX | LOUIS MAQHUBELA | KYLE MORLAND | CHRISTIAN NERF | SERGE ALAIN NITEGEKA | STANLEY PINKER | CAMERON PLATTER | GERDA SCHEEPERS | ROSENCLAIRE | ROSE SHAKINOVSKY | PENNY SIOPIS | MARY WAFER |
Opening: 2 December 2014, 6-8pm
Marilyn Martin is an independent writer, curator and lecturer. Currently a senior scholar at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, lecturing in Visual and Art History. Prior to this, she was director of the South African National Gallery for eleven years and director of Art Collections for Iziko Museums for seven years. Before joining the museum sector she was senior lecturer in the Department of Architecture, Wits University. Martin has curated exhibitions of South African art in Brazil, Denmark, France, Mali and the USA, and has served on many panels for art and architecture, including the Dakar Biennale (2000, 2010). She was co-curator for the exhibition Picasso and Africa and curated the retrospective exhibition on Louis Maqhubela for the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg in 2010. In 2002 Martin was admitted to the Legion of Honour of the Republic of France at the rank of Officer and in 2013 she received the medal of the Fondation Alliance française in Paris.