Portia Zvavahera: What I See Beyond Feeling

STEVENSON , Johannesburg, South Africa
03 Nov 2016 - 27 Jan 2017

Portia Zvavahera: What I See Beyond Feeling

Portia Zvavahera, Vese Vakanddibata (They all gave me strength), 2016, oil-based printing ink and oil bar on canvas, courtesy Stevenson Gallery

STEVENSON Johannesburg present a solo exhibition by Portia Zvavahera titled What I See Beyond Feeling.

In new works on canvas and paper, Zvavahera combines exuberant gestural painting with areas of finely detailed mono-printing in depictions of spiritual and emotional topographies.

Zvavahera points to her dreams as a crucial source of inspiration and positions the works in this exhibition as visualisations of pivotal dreamscapes. Describing herself as working with ‘what I see with spiritual eyes’, she explains:

As human beings we have dreams – we are told about our future and our past through dreams. This is what I’m trying to speak about. As I’m sleeping I see things … I cannot tell others what I see, only the emotions, the feelings that I try to transfer to the canvas. When you have a dream it’s like when you look at a painting: there’s a focal point. In the dream there’s this thing that strikes you, and that’s where I create my painting.

The ecstatic lovers of Zvavahera’s previous exhibition, I Can Feel It in My Eyes, are transmuted here into angelic and human beings entwined in images of suffering and solace. The motif of the lace wedding gown becomes a veil that both protects, embracing the figure in an exploration of surface and detail, and allows access through to what lies beneath. Beyond the union of lovers, it symbolises the marriage of the earthly and spiritual, dream and reality, human and divine, future and past, torment and safety. The figures in What I See Beyond Feeling are elated and burdened, demonstrative and meditative.

This is Zvavahera’s fourth exhibition with the gallery. Her work is currently included on Body Luggage: Migration of Gestures curated by Zasha Colah for the steirischer herbst festival in Graz, Austria.

The exhibition will open on Thursday 3 November, 6-8pm.