Monday, November 30, 2009

Gallery Stages Two Exciting Exhibitions

- Brent Phillips-White -

The Prince Albert Gallery is hosting two very different exhibitions over the upcoming holiday period. Diane Johnson-Ackerman’s exhibition, “Time-less Karoo”, opens in the middle of December and is followed in January by “Black, White and Colour”, featuring the work of Elza Botha and Joshua Miles.

Diane Johnson-Ackerman has an honours degree from Rhodes University, having studied under the likes of Prof Brian Bradshaw and Prof Robert Brooks. She has exhibited extensively since the early 1970’s with works in public and private collections as far afield as Japan and the United States. Diane’s work has featured regularly in the Prince Albert Gallery over the last three years.

For this exhibition of acrylic paintings and etchings she has focussed on Prince Albert homes and landscapes captured in the strong Karoo light. Her work has a strong three dimensional quality in which she pays attention to the contrasts between light and shade, for example, the shadow of brookie-lace cast on a wall or the shadow of a single sunflower on a wall. The paintings in both large and small scale exude a sense of calm, quiet timelessness.
Elza Botha (Miles) and Joshua Miles are both acclaimed print-makers. Earlier this year Joshua held a successful exhibition at the Prince Albert Gallery. He has since acquired a much larger printing press and for this exhibition will be showing his impressive printmaking skills on a grander scale.

Elza Botha, in the words of well-known curator Julia Meintjes, is “one of South Africa’s foremost printmakers – producing mainly woodblock prints in very limited editions. Renowned for her feminist and political work, Elza provides a sensitive, emphatic commentary on aspects of South African society and history which resonates beyond the artist’s own story. Although her use of a black and white medium appears to simplify the image, the details which she selects (or exaggerates) to depict her subjects sharpen the emotive content of her statements – the drooping pattern of facial lines, the pathos in the stance of a figure, or the combination of narrative objects. This complex-simplicity of her works exhibits her life-long involvement in art and her astute observation of character.

She kept intricate scrapbooks and created works in her youth, studied under Walter Battiss at the University of Pretoria and achieved her Masters at RAU (Johannesburg University). She has lectured in Art History and worked as a reputable art critic. As a respected researcher she has curated pivotal exhibitions and published books (including “Land and Lives”, “Lifeline out of Africa” and “Polly Street”). Her research focuses on the lives and work of artists too long undocumented and unrecognised in South African art history.”

Locals and visitors alike are welcome to join us at the Seven Arches for a glass of wine at both exhibition openings on the following dates:

“Timeless Karoo” an exhibition of paintings and etchings by Diane Johnson-Ackerman opens on Wednesday, 16 December, at 18h00

“Black, White and Colour” an exhibition of woodblock prints by Elza Botha and Joshua Miles will open on Saturday, 16 January, at 18h00.

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