KNYSNA NEWS - The organisers of Oakhill School’s 2018 Matric Art exhibit would probably do well to change the name of the event as many of the works by the seven artists on display certainly seem to exceed the limits normally expected of art scholars at this level. The theme this year was borrowed from TS Elliot’s The Waste Land and specifically the statement “Things fall apart – the centre cannot hold”.
Stepping in, Mia Venter’s looming oil on paper portrait of her dad dominates the entrance – his skewed expression brazenly reflecting his inner state. Diagonally across, her chalk-and-charcoal likenesses morph into cubist-like deformities that eventually end up as physically fragmented pieces of her bloodline.
Alongside, we’re suddenly launched into Nathan Austin’s purposefully garish, Day-Glo comic-book matrix where all eyes are on us. And once you manage to tear yourself away from the addictive riot of anime and comical kitsch, you can step right into the tranquillity of Luc van den Handel’s own Manet meadow – beset this time by minority group representatives. A flip through his booklet of skulls which highlights the glaring, grimacing similarities between race, gender, age and class, constitutes a welcome mirth-inducing moment.
Up above, Neena de Klerk lets loose with a flurry of untamed abstract expressionism in a gloomy, muddy mix of hues so unalluring, they’re irresistible. (”She couldn’t contain herself… We had to stop her,” her tutor, Amy Nuttall, explained proudly.) Further along, she miraculously manages to make the drippingly sentimental theme of pink horses work.
But not before Jamie Hattingh’s meticulous pastels and larger-than-life ink-washed heads force you to a halt. And you’re prompted to negotiate Zoe Venter’s multimedia art hive as she draws you into an oil-and-impasto-acrylic microcosm abuzz with all the anxieties of leaving home.
Then, after being momentarily mesmerised into a state of reptilian torpor by Michaela Vogt’s patterned contortions, you’ll finally be confronted by a chilling sequence of De Klerk’s charcoaled serial killers.
All things considered, it is a display of unique talent of which the centre is bound to hold.
The exhibition at Shop 45, Woodmill Lane will run until 9 November, and is open weekdays from 09:00 to 16:00.
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