CBD Portrait

I love Johannesburg and all it has to offer. I spent a day walking around in the CBD and saw and experienced the beautiful, the sad, the happy, the stink. I will do it again soon, though this was the first time I truly felt out of place. My whiteness did not blend, it was not always well-received and when it was I was very much aware of how my camera was exploiting their day to day living. I paid a couple to take their portrait, and I gave to them what I could spare out of the bulked baggage of white privilege on my back. I thank them.

"CBD Portrait". 2014. Johannesburg, South Africa.

“CBD Portrait”. 2014. Johannesburg, South Africa. (prints available)

The Garden at Night, by Gerhard Marx

Goodman artist Gerhard Marx was invited to be festival artist at the 2014 Clover Aardklop and I had the pleasure of working with him and photographing his work. The Garden at Night is a show about nature, about humanity, and about how those two things connect with one another. The intense dedication to detail and perfection is this artist’s greatest attribute while also working with very unique media.

View of an "Animal" carcass through which can be seen two of Marx's big "Carpets".

View of an “Animal” carcass through which can be seen two of Marx’s big “Carpets”.

"Mother and Child".

“Mother and Child”.

An inside-view of one of the "Animals".

An inside-view of one of the “Animals”.

An example of the kind of material used to make up images on the polished black surfaces.

An example of the kind of material used to make up images on the polished black surfaces.

The stand for the "Animal" carcass is also designed and engineered by Marx. It is flexible in terms of position and can swirl around to create many different interpretations.

The stand for the “Animal” carcass is also designed and engineered by Marx. It is flexible in terms of position and can swirl around to create many different interpretations.

One if Marx's "Animals". The carcasses are made through a long and careful process of cutting and fitting pieces of bracken together, always finding the exact right bend to achieve perfect balance.

One of Marx’s “Animals”. The carcasses are made through a long and careful process of cutting and fitting pieces of bracken together, always finding the exact right bend to achieve perfect balance.

"Vertical Figure". This beautiful work made up of a polished and worked black surface with ground down plant root material takes the human form back to its origins as part of the planet's miracle of life.

“Vertical Figure”. This beautiful work made up of a polished and worked black surface with ground down plant root material takes the human form back to its origins as part of the planet’s miracle of life.

The counter weight on the stand of "Vertical Figure". Designed and engineered by the artist, this add-on links the work to the maps as a sort of map-making instrument.

The counter weight on the stand of “Vertical Figure”. Designed and engineered by the artist, this add-on links the work to the maps as a sort of map-making instrument.

This work is made up entirely of cut-up pieces of maps with no extra lines added. The artist shows his dedication to the subject matter superbly.

This work is made up entirely of cut-up pieces of maps with no extra lines added. The artist shows his dedication to the subject matter superbly.

The title view of the exhibition. "The Garden at Night" is a beautiful title and brings to the works an element of mystery, referring to the ongoing growing processes we never truly get to witness due to the slower nature of growing things.

The title view of the exhibition. “The Garden at Night” is a beautiful title and brings to the works an element of mystery, referring to the ongoing growing processes we never truly get to witness due to the slower nature of growing things.

"Scion: child" is a bronze sculpture but was first sculpted with small pieces of bracken.

“Scion: child” is a bronze sculpture but was first sculpted with small pieces of bracken.

These editioned works are meant to bring to the installation the human element which forms part of art talking mostly about organic matter.

These editioned works have to with the bifocal nature of human sight. It connects to the works all focusing our attention to that which we may not always be able to truly see: the busy organic world living all around us.

An almost full view of the installation.

An almost full view of the installation.

The material used to fit together the "Animal" carcasses.

The material used to fit together the “Animal” carcasses.

Theatre lights used to light up the two carpets on display making the pop out in the gallery space and almost seem like they are back-lit.

Theatre lights used to light up the two carpets on display making them pop out in the gallery space and almost seem like they are back-lit.

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The two large carpets. Plant root material used to give a bird's eye view of maps as they are from above. These works especially makes you see the earthy elements of what underlies all of our roads and buildings, which may not always come across on the maps we use.

The two large carpets. Plant root material used to give a bird’s eye view of maps as they are from above. These works especially makes you see the earthy elements of what underlies all of our roads and buildings, which may not always come across on the maps we use.

A portrait that I took of the artist, Gerhard Marx. He is signed at one of the most reputable galleries in South Africa, the Goodman Gallery. Gerhard is a perfectionist in his artwork and even when installing his work. It was a great pleasure working with him.

A portrait that I took of the artist, Gerhard Marx. He is signed at one of the most reputable galleries in South Africa, the Goodman Gallery. Gerhard is a perfectionist in his artwork and even when installing his work. It was a great pleasure working with him.

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"Horizontal Figure". This work was my favorite in the exhibition. The detail the plant-root material lends to this almost magical work is phenomenal. To me, it also connects to the oh-so-holy human body heading back into the earth and forming part of the on-going natural recycling process.

“Horizontal Figure”. This work was my favorite in the exhibition. The detail the plant-root material lends to this almost magical work is phenomenal. To me, it also connects to the oh-so-holy human body heading back into the earth and forming part of the on-going natural recycling process.

Two new maps, or "Carpets", made using Google Maps.

Two new maps, or “Carpets”, made using Google Maps.

A detail of one of the "Carpets" made from plant root material.

A detail of one of the “Carpets” made from plant root material.

Playing it safe

My first entry for the Swedish Innovation Photography Competition.

My first entry for the Swedish Innovation Photography Competition. The competition calls for the use of a Swedish innovation to be used in a South African context. I worked with safety matches. Referencing sayings surrounding the idea of “playing with matches” and the concept of the “safety” match in the hands of a child. “Playing it safe” by Kevin du Plessis.

Lighting up the world

Taking a moment to appreciate how the human condition has changed because of an image-maker, an advanced paintbrush or pencil. It was unimaginable to the masses of souls who inhabited this world before us; it opened the secrets and mysteries of almost everything we know of the greater part of planet Earth which is not in our immediate living space. From identification, documentary work, medical advances, people, culture, religion, advertising, new kinds of visual art, the way we communicate and teach, in short almost all forms of the known universe is affected by it. It is the very bones and the skin of enlightenment for the human race as a whole. The camera, and not always as evident, the photographer, is the gate keeper to the secrets of existence. Treasure and appreciate this invaluable existence altering duo. Let your fingers bleed from clicking your camera, record your very existence, for without this kind of imagery, you are lost to all future generations.

Taking a moment to appreciate how the human condition has changed because of an image-maker, an advanced paintbrush or pencil. It was unimaginable to the masses of souls who inhabited this world before us; it opened the secrets and mysteries of almost everything we know of the greater part of planet Earth which is not in our immediate living space. From identification, documentary work, medical advances, people, culture, religion, advertising, new kinds of visual art, the way we communicate and teach, in short almost all forms of the known universe is affected by it. It is the very bones and the skin of enlightenment for the human race as a whole. The camera, and not always as evident, the photographer, are the gate keepers to the secrets of existence. Treasure and appreciate this invaluable existence-altering duo. Let your fingers bleed from clicking your camera, record your very existence, for without this kind of imagery, you are lost to all future generations.

Tully’s “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” asking you to reflect

Artist Ann-Marie Tully uses a visual and interactive narrative to speak about the serious issue of humankind’s treatment and views of our animal counterparts. Her work is at the same time very humorous while being serious when asking you the question of “now that you know, what do you propose to do?” The awareness that these works evoke from the onlooker changes your views on animals forever.

"The turn of instrumental reason (2014) series of altered sewing machines relates thematically to The Bleek house focus on the animalisation of difference. Similar to The Bleek house works these mechanical assemblages feature paintings on the palms of the mannequin hands of animal and therianthropic forms drawn from San rock paintings; coupled with images of individuals from the colonial African stage. Further to this narrative element the grafted together ‘machine arm’ and artificial hand evokes: the violent stitch of the sewing machine (with monstrous surgical inference); industrialisation (the product of enlightenment thinking); histories of western dominance and exploitation; the punitive violence perpetrated against Africans in the name of industry during colonial times. Also significant is the coupling of the feminine hands with the feminine ergonomics of the sewing machines. This is suggestive of the female hands that these well worn objects (haunted by the marks of past users) were designed to respond to and enspan. The presence of animal forms on the palms of the hands alludes to the rationalised binary opposition of nature and culture/industry; and the predjudical association of women with the ‘lesser’form of nature. The animal forms on the part of these mechanically driven hands that would be used to crush something alludes to the destruction and brutal exploitation of nature by the ‘wheels of industry’." -from the catalogue Wolf in Sheep's Clothing.

“The turn of instrumental reason (2014) series of altered sewing machines relates thematically to The Bleek
house focus on the animalisation of difference. Similar to The Bleek house works these mechanical assemblages
feature paintings on the palms of the mannequin hands of animal and therianthropic forms drawn from
San rock paintings; coupled with images of individuals from the colonial African stage. Further to this narrative
element the grafted together ‘machine arm’ and artificial hand evokes: the violent stitch of the sewing machine
(with monstrous surgical inference); industrialisation (the product of enlightenment thinking); histories of western
dominance and exploitation; the punitive violence perpetrated against Africans in the name of industry during
colonial times.
Also significant is the coupling of the feminine hands with the feminine ergonomics of the sewing machines.
This is suggestive of the female hands that these well worn objects (haunted by the marks of past users) were
designed to respond to and enspan. The presence of animal forms on the palms of the hands alludes to the
rationalised binary opposition of nature and culture/industry; and the predjudical association of women with the
‘lesser’form of nature. The animal forms on the part of these mechanically driven hands that would be used to
crush something alludes to the destruction and brutal exploitation of nature by the ‘wheels of industry’.” -from the catalogue Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing.

"Running with the hares and hunting with the hounds." Tully uses herself as model, again, note the beautiful technique which is leaning towards an animal skin.

“Running with the hares and hunting with the hounds.” Tully uses herself as model, note the beautiful technique which  leans towards an animal skin.

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"Another fucking bunny" is a humorous piece that reflects Tully's frustration with the world and the media's obsession with the cuteness of bunnies. It is rare that, and this is true for most of her work, you find an artist who deals with such serious issues yet is able to do it in such light and humorous way without losing any of the weight in the message.

“Another fucking bunny” is a humorous piece that reflects Tully’s frustration with the world’s and the media’s obsession with the cuteness of bunnies. It is rare that, and this is true for most of her work, you find an artist who deals with such serious issues yet is able to do it in such a light and humorous way without losing any of the weight in the message.

I really like this photograph of me in the reflection of one of the "Where sleeping dogs lie" works also reflecting some of the other works in the exhibition.

I really like this photograph of me in the reflection of one of the “Where sleeping dogs lie” works also reflecting some of the other works in the exhibition.

"THE DECORATIVE ANIMAL. The Las Meninas [Ladies in Waiting] series (2010-2012) of cobalt oxide-painted ceramic frog sculptures further reflects on the obscuration of animal beings in human visual culture." -from the catalogue Wolf in Sheep's Clothing.

“THE DECORATIVE ANIMAL.
The Las Meninas [Ladies in Waiting] series (2010-2012) of cobalt oxide-painted ceramic frog sculptures further reflects on the obscuration of animal beings inhuman visual culture.” -from the catalogue Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing.

"Furbourough: Mrs Siddons and the infanta of the hunt."

“Furbourough: Mrs Siddons and the infanta of the hunt.”

"Cat of nine lives." "Artworks such as Dumb Valet (2013), Cat of nine lives (2013), and Heads you win, tails you loose (2014), employ real fur objects, such as toys and clothing; and decorative furnishings that mimic animal features, such as ball and claw furniture. These assemblages/installations reflect on the reduction of animal beings into objects in human material culture." -from the catalogue Wolf in Sheep's Clothing.

“Cat of nine lives.”
“Artworks such as Dumb Valet (2013), Cat of nine lives (2013), and Heads you win, tails you loose (2014), employ real fur objects, such as toys and clothing; and decorative
furnishings that mimic animal features, such as ball and claw furniture. These assemblages/installations reflect on the reduction of animal beings into objects in human material
culture.” -from the catalogue Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing.

From "Room to Swing a Cat", three beautiful little works that depict cats flying through the air. Tully refers to the English expression, which to her illustrates well how metaphor in our language usage speak of our almost unawareness of the fact that animals look back at us much in the same way we can see them. Tully said something in the line of "So we have the opposable thumbs, so we are the masters!" Tully has quite a lot to say about our notions of logic and the fact that we deem animals not to possess it, when in fact they do.  I am the lucky owner of one of these paintings.

From “Room to Swing a Cat”, three beautiful little works that depict cats flying through the air. Tully refers to the English expression, which to her illustrates well how metaphor in our language usage speak of our almost unawareness of the fact that animals look back at us much in the same way we can see them. Tully said something in the line of “So we have the opposable thumbs, so we are the masters!” Tully has quite a lot to say about our notions of logic and the fact that we deem animals not to possess it, when in fact they do.
I am the lucky owner of one of these paintings.

Tully's technique in her paintings lend to the images an animalistic feel that I find to be unique to her work. The brushstrokes are especially fur-like and in terms of composition and form everything pulls towards animal-human similarities, atrocities and various other links. "The Dog—eat—dog (2010-2013) series draws on narratives and idioms that parallel human culture wilth lupine and other animal attributes relating to predatorial and maternal instinct, ferociousness and stealthiness.  Shakespeare’s Marcus Antonius invokes canine ferocity in preparation to strike against Julius Caesar’s assassins, linking notions of aggressive animality to the human practice of war. This aggressive rhetoric also conveniently absolves the ‘civilised’ qualities of human beings from complicity in the atrocities of war: And Caesar’s spirit, raging for revenge ... Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war That this foul deed shall smell above the earth With carrion men, groaning for burial. 1 William Shakespear’s Julius Caesar, Act 3, scene 1." -Info drawn from Wolf in Sheep's Clothing Catalogue.

Tully’s technique in her paintings lend to the images an animalistic feel that I find to be unique to her work. The brushstrokes are especially fur-like and in terms of composition and form everything pulls towards animal-human similarities, atrocities and various other links.
“The Dog—eat—dog (2010-2013) series draws on narratives and idioms that parallel human culture wilth lupine and other animal attributes relating to predatorial and maternal instinct, ferociousness and stealthiness.
Shakespeare’s Marcus Antonius invokes canine ferocity in preparation to strike against Julius Caesar’s assassins, linking notions of aggressive animality to the human practice of war. This aggressive rhetoric also conveniently absolves the ‘civilised’ qualities of human beings from complicity in the atrocities of war:
And Caesar’s spirit, raging for revenge …
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.
1 William Shakespear’s Julius Caesar,
Act 3, scene 1.”
– drawn from Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing Catalogue.

Works from the Dog—eat—dog (2010-2013) series.

Works from the Dog—eat—dog (2010-2013) series.

This real fur shawl, as displayed beautifully with the wood furniture and mirror, titled "Dumb Valet" comments on the almost unimaginable fashion trends from decades past where animal skins would be worn as clothes. Note how the traditional ball and claw style furniture compliments Tully's notions of the way within which human kind views its animal counterpart.

This real fur shawl, as displayed beautifully with the wood furniture and mirror, titled “Dumb Valet” comments on the almost unimaginable fashion trends from decades past where animal skins would be worn as clothes. Note how the traditional ball and claw style furniture compliments Tully’s notions of the way within which human kind views its animal counterpart.

"She Wolf II" above the vinyl.

“She Wolf II” above the vinyl.

From the series "Fleeced", Tully uses cotton waste and thread on Fabriano to express the unfeeling  victimization of animals in the mass production of animal products and byproducts by the humankind.

From the series “Fleeced”, Tully uses cotton waste and thread on Fabriano to express the unfeeling victimization of animals in the mass production of animal products and byproducts by the humankind.

"Pussy (for Derrida and T.S. Eliot)" is more theoretical but certainly draws on the artist's more feminist side.

“Pussy (for Derrida and T.S. Eliot)” is more theoretical but certainly draws on the artist’s more feminist side.

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Quin’s “the retrospective year”. South African sculptor and legend.

"The Ultimate Sacrifice."

“The Ultimate Sacrifice.”

"Duffel Coat Girl." Quin elaborates on the fashion of the 50's student. "If you didn't have a duffel coat, you were a nobody."

“Duffel Coat Girl.” Quin elaborates on the fashion of the 50’s student. “If you didn’t have a duffel coat, you were a nobody.”

"Life and Death" as Quin viewed it in 1970. Cold cast bronze.

“Life and Death” as Quin viewed it in 1970. Cold cast bronze.

Quin in her younger years working on a sculpture.

Quin in her younger years working on a sculpture.

"Celebration." This statue made me think of my best friend and I, the sculptor admits that they are most probably drunk but that to her they represent pure ecstasy.

“Celebration.” This statue made me think of my best friend and I, the sculptor admits that they are most probably drunk but that to her they represent pure ecstasy.

"Compassion II."

“Compassion II.”

"Mother Love." It's not as clear in this photograph, but this sculpture is suspended and the mother's love seems to be floating like a cloud over all of humanity.

“Mother Love.” It’s not as clear in this photograph, but this sculpture is suspended and the mother’s love seems to be floating like a cloud over all of humanity.

"Culprit Maquette." Note the slight reference to the rhino on the screaming man's head. Meant to connect to rhino poaching in South Africa.

“Culprit Maquette.” Note the slight reference to the rhino on the screaming man’s head. Meant to connect to rhino poaching in South Africa.

"Odile" & "Polka".

“Odile” & “Polka”.

"Liberation."

“Liberation.”

"The Rescue." In her latest works, this 80 year old woman saw it fit to start talking about the good things of our kind, in sharp contrast with what we see in the media and on the news.

“The Rescue.” In her latest works, this 80 year old woman saw it fit to start talking about the good things of our kind, in sharp contrast with what we see in the media and on the news.

"Fisherman" and "Lira Player", from Quin's travels in Greece.

“Fisherman” and “Lira Player”, from Quin’s travels in Greece.

"Open Torso", meant to open the human body and to reflect something of the beauty of organic Greek churches.

“Open Torso”, meant to open the human body and to reflect something of the beauty of organic Greek churches.

"The Kill" from The Hunt series. Man has become ruthless and unforgiving. Note the symbolic horns, at this point in the series the largest they have ever been.

“The Kill” from The Hunt series. Man has become ruthless and unforgiving. Note the symbolic horns, at this point in the series the largest they have ever been.

"The Chase". See how Quin subtly shrinks the cheetah's head to symbolise how irrelevant Nature has become to humankind.

“The Chase”. See how Quin subtly shrinks the cheetah’s head to symbolise how irrelevant Nature has become to humankind.

"The Hunt", "The Chase", "The Kill".

“The Hunt”, “The Chase”, “The Kill”.

"Jade" in front and at the back you can see three phases of the examination of a Xhosa woman.

“Jade” in front and at the back you can see three phases of the examination of a Xhosa woman.

"Reclining Female Torso." Influenced by Quin's many afternoons spent sketching models in Greece.

“Reclining Female Torso.” Influenced by Quin’s many afternoons spent sketching models in Greece.

"The Ultimate Sacrifice." Part of "The Hunt" series, talking about humankind, our nature and our relationship with Nature.

“The Ultimate Sacrifice.” Part of “The Hunt” series, talking about humankind, our nature and our relationship with Nature.

"Horse and Rider."

“Horse and Rider.”

"Queen." The first time Quin uses horns in her work for compositional reasons; later it become symbolic.

“Queen.” The first time Quin uses horns in her work for compositional reasons; later it becomes symbolic.

"Mantis Man." This work is proof that the psyche of the artist works in mysterious ways, when nothing comes your way something will take shape of itself. To me, the beauty of the creativity in us all. We are all gods of our own little worlds.

“Mantis Man.” This work is proof that the psyche of the artist works in mysterious ways, when nothing comes your way something will take shape of itself. To me, the beauty of the creativity in us all. We are all gods of our own little worlds.

"Pieta." Sorrow is yet to strike humankind.

“Pieta.” Sorrow is yet to strike humankind.

"Supplication."

“Supplication.”

Maureen Quin talking to us about 6 decades of great artistic work.

Maureen Quin talking to us about 6 decades of great artistic work.

Kobus “Rot” de Kock

Some moments are perfect. Pure ecstasy courses through your every fibre and you would do anything to hold on to that feeling, anything at all. Every reservation, confinement, prejudice, sadness, heaviness, insecurity is purged from your body for those few seconds and you become free. Free from the world's bullshit and that is worth getting addicted for.

Some moments are perfect. Pure ecstasy courses through your every fibre and you would do anything to hold on to that feeling, anything at all. Every reservation, confinement, prejudice, sadness, heaviness, insecurity is purged from your body for those few seconds and you become free. Free from the world’s bullshit and that is worth getting addicted for.

Cardboard Lies

Nothing quite like a blind sight. It is a folly of routine, prejudice, assumption and all those adjectives that make you experience a human being, an animal, indeed any other life form, as far away, apart, separated when in reality it is never evident that they look back and see you, see some part of you that feels that a dismissive wave of the hand is an acceptable way of dealing with those that do not fit into your budget of alcohol, cigarettes, treat foods and all that other shit you think you so desperately need.

Nothing quite like a blind sight. It is a folly of routine, prejudice, assumption and all those adjectives that make you experience a human being, an animal, indeed any other life form, as far away, apart, separated when in reality it is never evident that they look back and see you, see some part of you that feels that a dismissive wave of the hand is an acceptable way of dealing with those that do not fit into your budget of alcohol, cigarettes, treat foods and all that other shit you think you so desperately need.