KNYSNA NEWS - Local art aficionados attending the opening last week of the Knysna Arts Society's ForesTree exhibition were treated to one of the most inspiring exhibitions Knysna has seen for many moons as paintings, photographs, prints, digital art and other media displayed by 38 local artists in a variety of genres were on display at The Old Gaol.
One of Knysna's most respected veterans, Stanley Grootboom, described the exhibition as an artistic rebirth.
“There was a time where nothing was happening at this place, and this feels like a renewal of the arts at this venue – we just need to sustain it and keep it going.”
First-time exhibitor with the society Shirley Erasmus beamed as some of her prints of tree cross-cuts already sported red stickers. She was inspired to make the prints by the widespread cutting down of invasive species. “Those trees fought their way to get there so I came up with a way to preserve their mark,” she explained.
While most works showed an indication of a celebratory nature in displaying the natural flora in all its recovering glory, some still represented grim reminders of June 2017, such as Denise Woodgate's charcoaled branch still emerging from a blue-green haze and Rhiannon Chancy's parched quasi-cubist foreground entitled Aftermath.
In another, Woodgate piles up paint to lift ghostly images of forgotten fir trees from the canvass. Two works by photographer Jacey Searra, entitled Mysty and Mystree, show attractive landscapes revealed through whorls of mist…
Helena Joubert goes refreshingly wild with cross-hatched greens in her Lost in the Forest, while John Michael Metelercamp's brooding, Gothic interiors in thick oily strokes stand out as the only works that choose to portray our urban jungle. There's vague but invigorating hints of Henri Rousseau's post-impressionist naivety in Tracey Mae's Forest Garden, while Hope Baker Brigg finely frames an abstract miniature labelled Forest Dapple. On the opposite wall, Diáne Vorster's broken brushwork recalls impressionist and Seurat-like neo-impressionist landscaping in Trail Through the Woods as Jan Ruats magnifies it handsomely with Forest Walk.
More than a smidgen of mystique shines through in Debra de Villiers' Tolkeinesque Magical Knysna, but it is a chuckle-inducing centrepiece by Madelein Marincowitz that most effortlessly catches the eye as she deftly drags surrealism from obscurity – complete with obligatory fish – to present In a World Where Fish Are No Longer Forced to Climb Trees' to the real world.
This all and much more will hang there at The Old Gaol Museum until 29 October. Make haste to see it.
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