#Ashtag – ʼn gesprek oor kuns en ekologie

“Openbare swembad, Brandvlei”, olie op doek, 51x61cm, 2015, R9 500
“Openbare swembad, Brandvlei”, olie op doek, 51x61cm, 2015, R9 500

Wat het ʼn olieverfskildery van ʼn leë munisipale swembad in Brandvlei te doen met ʼn foto van ʼn posbus in Beaufort-Wes? Wat is die verband tussen die handelsmerke van oliemaatskappye en die beeldende kuns? Drie kunstenaars, Hanné Koster, Kirby van der Merwe en Andries Bezuidenhout, het saam aan ʼn uitstalling getiteld “Gas” gewerk wat op die oomblik by die Breytenbach-sentrum in Wellington besigtig kan word. Die uitstalling se titel kom van ʼn skildery van ʼn petrolstasie uit die 1940s deur die realistiese Amerikaanse skilder Edward Hopper.

Die drie kunstenaars lewer elk op hul eie manier kommentaar op die ekologiese krisis wat ons in die gesig staar. Hanné Koster stal foto’s uit van landskaptonele met petrolstasies wat in onbruik verval het, stukkende windpompe en doringdraad. Kirby van der Merwe werk meestal in olieverf – soms op doek, maar ook op aluminium – en skilder tonele van brandende takke, oorlogsveterane en die handelsmerke van oliemaatskappye. Andries Bezuidenhout werk ook met olieverf en skilder landskappe vol tekens van menslike bestaan – heinings, telefoondrade, hoogspanningslyne.

Die uitstalling is verlede Saterdag deur die digter Loftus Marais geopen, maar eerskomende Saterdag (13 Februarie, om 11:00) gaan die drie kunstenaars self oor hul werk praat. Tydens hierdie rondleiding deur die galery gaan hulle gaan praat oor wat hul geïnspireer het om die werke aan te pak en oor en die gesprek tussen hul werk. Kom luister wat hulle sê en kom vra self vrae oor die kunswerke.

Toegang is gratis en ʼn glasie wyn kos R10.

RSVP by Anne-Grett Erasmus by galery@breytenbachsentrum.co.za

Meer inligting en aanwysings om by die Breytenbach-sentrum uit te kom hier.

“Gas” Exhibition at the Breytenbach Gallery in Wellington, South Africa, February 2016 | Contact Anne-Ghrett for sales galery@breytenbachsentrum.co.za

GAS: A group exhibition with Andries Bezuidenhout, Hanné Koster and Kirby van der Merwe

"Brandstof" [Fuel], oil on canvas, 30x40cm
“Brandstof” [Fuel], oil on canvas, 30x40cm

Andries Bezuidenhout on his contribution to the exhibition:

gas gases, n. gas; (Am.) brandstof, petrol
gas gaste, n. guest, visitor
gas gasse, n. gas

JM Coetzee writes in his novel Elizabeth Costello: “Realism has never been comfortable with ideas. It could not be otherwise: realism is premised on the idea that ideas have no autonomous existence, can exist only in things. So when it needs to debate ideas, as here, realism is driven to invent situations – walks in the countryside, conversations – in which characters give voice to contending ideas and thereby in a certain sense embody them” (p. 9). Or paintings. The title “Gas” draws on Edward Hopper’s painting with the same title, a work characteristic of the American painter’s realist approach to depicting landscapes. Hopper completed this painting of a rural filling station in 1940. A lonely figure guards three fuel pumps at sunset. Electric light from the filling station contrasts with natural light at dusk. A dense forest blocks the horizon.

When we look at Hopper’s painting today it most probably calls up different connotations to those of a typical art enthusiast of the 1940s. Environmental concerns and the ecological impacts of fossil fuels are at the forefront of present day collective consciousness. Fuel stations have already changed in form and design. In the near future filling stations will, in all probability, no longer be places where we are required to interrupt our journeys. This may be a cause for feelings of nostalgia, but their ruins will also remind us of why we use the word anthropocene to name the current era.

The South African context also calls up pertinent issues around the use of non-renewable sources of energy: coal, oil, the impact of fracking on water sources, etc. I’ve been working on landscape paintings that explore how that which we observe on the earth’s surface is related to that which we pump and dig from below the surface in order to move “forward” – to progress, or to regress? I have also been exploring these issues in my poetry and music.

“Gas”, when spoken in Afrikaans, may also mean “guest” or “visitor”. The landscape painter is a visitor, at times a guest, an outsider’s eye that travels with a vehicle propelled across the landscape by a diesel engine in order to stare, to photograph, to paint. The anthropocene era forces us to be more aware of the tension between our status as guests or proprietors of the planet we inhabit. The human being as colonial animal, invader species, parasite. It’s about land, landscapes and possession. Who decides what happens to mineral and water resources? Terms such as “water rights”, “mineral rights” and instruments such as cadastres codify and control nature and other people in a symbolic and violent order. On the landscape itself fences, walls and warning signs are erected as instruments of control. Locating Hopper’s “Gas” in contemporary South Africa would imply eucalyptus trees and Apollo lights over an informal settlement on the horizon.

Landscape painting is typically seen as a conservative and nostalgic artistic genre. Maybe a different way of viewing landscapes (Hopper’s landscapes, but also contemporary realist landscape painting) presents different possibilities. Then again, realism can only deal with the concrete, the landscape, the conversation.

Opening: Saturday 6 February 2016, 11:00

Where? Breytenbach Sentrum, 14 Burger Street, Wellington, South Africa

RSVP: Anne-Ghrett 083 415 0002 / galery@breytenbachsentrum.co.za

uitnodiging - GAS

Toorberg Series

A series of paintings done at a temporary studio at Westbrook Farm near Toorberg in the Graaff-Reinet district in December 2015 and January 2016. The paintings will be part of an exhibition at the Breytenbach Gallery in Wellington in February 2016.

Central Garage, Loeriesfontein

Central Garage, Loeriesfontein
Central Garage, Loeriesfontein

Title: “Central garage, Loeriesfontein”, by Andries Bezuidenhout, oil on canvas, 71 x 61 cm

Artist on this work: “I’m in the process of exploring warm and cold light – dawn vs. electric light, direct vs. reflected light. I’m interested in fuel stations in various parts of the country, specifically the Karoo. These places raise questions around fossil fuel and the process of fracking that will commence in the Karoo in the near future. While working on these paitings, I constantly think of Ed Hopper’s painting Gas.”

Price: R9 000

Populiere naby Kompasberg

Title: “Populiere naby Kompasberg”, by Andries Bezuidenhout, oil on canvas, 51 x 61 cm

Poplar trees near Kompasberg – or “Compass Mountain”. Shortly after sunset on the road from Nieu Bethesda in South Africa’s Karoo region, past the Van Heerden farm, on to Kompasberg.

Price: R6 500

Grondpad donderwolke

Grondpad donderwolke

“Grondpad donderwolke”, by Andries Bezuidenhout, oil on canvas, 60 x 70 cm

Gravel road near Cullinan in South Africa’s Gauteng province. Late afternoon sunlight and clouds, after one of those Highveld thunder showers.

Price: Sold

Droë vlakte kafee, algemene handelaar en slaghuis naby Stilbaai

Title: “Droë vlakte kafee, algemene handelaar en slaghuis naby Stilbaai”, by Andries Bezuidenhout, oil on canvas, 61 x 71 cm.

This title is a difficult one to translate. The following may be a possibility: “Dry plane, convenience store, general dealer and butchery near Stilbaai.” Stilbaai in translation would be “Quiet Bay”, or possibly “Bay of Tranquillity.” It doesn’t seem to work in translation. Hopefully the painting captures something more universal than language is able to in this case.

Price: R10 000

For sales contact: admin[at]andriesbezuidenhout.co.za Paintings can be viewed at the artist’s studio in Murrayfield, Pretoria by prior arrangement.

Geloof, De Hoop en wasdag

Geloof, De Hoop en wasdag

Title: “Geloof, De Hoop en wasdag”, by Andries Bezuidenhout, oil on canvas, 71 x 61 cm.

The scene in this painting is of a church and a corregated iron house at De Hoop, near Oudtshoorn, in South Africa’s Western Cape Province. The settlement’s name means “The Hope”. Farmers in the area built the church in the painting, hoping that it would become a church town. The town never materialised and the settlement now consists only of a few buildings, including the corrugated iron house in the painting. A translation for the title would be something like “Faith, Hope and Washing Day”.

Price: Sold

Click here for a poem on the painting (in Afrikaans), as well as a conversation with, amongst others, Breyten Breytenbach, Johann de Lange and Desmond Painter on the poem and the painting (also in Afrikaans).

For sales contact: admin[at]andriesbezuidenhout.co.za Paintings can be viewed at the artist’s studio in Murrayfield, Pretoria by prior arrangement.