Vernon Williams, Liza Grobler, Mel Williamson

UCA GALLERY will be hosting a group exhibition entitled Solum with Vernon Williams, Cha Davenport, Mel Williamson, Liza Grobler and Maricel Albertyn. These modern painters will be showcasing their interpretation of the South African landscape and express the solitary openness found therein.

Art Exhibition previously on at UCA Gallery in South Africa.
From Wednesday 04 March 2009 to Saturday 28 March 2009

Neiter here nor there image

Published by anonymous on Tuesday 10 March 2009.
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Solum is an exhibition of five painters at UCA GALLERY, who explore the South African landscape. The title Solum is a Latin word with two divergent meanings. The first branch is that of land, country and is the root of the English word soil. The second branch means alone or solely. The title then defines the parameters of the show: only the landscape. It also however implies the methodology of the artists: alone with the soil.
Painting by its nature is a private pursuit and these paintings are meditations on the shape, colour, form and texture of the South African landscape. They also are highly individual interpretations of the content of the landscape. Significantly, most of the artists talk about their work in terms of exploration, that the landscape can reveal something through its translation into paint. It is reminiscent of the appropriately Latin legend of the painting competition between Zeuxis and Parrhasius. Zeuxis painting fruit so lush that the birds came to peck at the canvas. When Zeuxis asked Parrhasius to remove the curtain covering his work, he realized the curtain was itself the painting. This anecdote shows that replication is in the realm of nature, whereas hiding through a layer of paint can be the more revealing experience. Painting the landscape is an expressive act:
Vernon Williams’ dusty, dusky paintings are dark and cluttered with objects, speak of a foreboding relationship with the land. Very little light is captured in his work and one is reminded of the moment between sunset and sunrise when it is neither day nor night, that moment that exists in between. The paintings also project a heavy silence by his use of dark colours and the soil/land that occupies the larger part of the canvas, and the viewer is challenged by a feeling of isolation and loneliness.
Mel Williamson’s bright paintings, explores the Little Karoo landscape and speak of people’s love and ownership of the land. Her work captures the essence of Spring and Summer and even though there is no visible figures in the scenes there is a pervading sense of life and living in these majestic surroundings. Besides for the more obvious colourful surface appearance of the work, there is a sublime and surreal quality emanating from her paintings, a hidden essence that evades description. The details suggest abundant natural life but there is also a feeling of desolation/loneliness that the viewer finds in the isolated manmade structures/buildings in the paintings.
Cha Davenport decontextualises the landscape into fragments of texture and rhythm. Her use of colour is very subtle and there are only a few indications that these scenes are part of a larger landscape. She chooses to focus on reflections of light that are cast on surfaces of water or shadows that separate the landscape into sections of colour, light and dark. The effect is one of mystery.
Liza Grobler’s graphic representations look at the patterns of dynamic changing landscapes. With these black and white ink drawings Liza uses line and only basic technique to suggest a landscape that is full and busy. In this pure play of the contrast of light and dark and rhythmic use of line, she manages to create an insoluble scene with the most basic mediums.
Maricel Albertyn’s clean and gentle paintings, reminiscent of Chinese watercolour, look at the meditative peaceful of the natural world. At first glance the viewer perceives a loneliness, but it is more a solitary feeling that the viewer is left with. Her work suggests a dry, arid landscape where not much can survive but with an always imminent promise of rain.

Solum will open at the UCA GALLERY on Wednesday the 4th of March and closes on the Saturday 28th of March.


46 Lower Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town. Gallery Hours: 10am – 5pm Mon – Fri, 9am – 1pm Sat