A new conversation

Lara Mellon & I exchanged postcards as a conversation that went on throughout our preparation for our last exhibition "Understory" held at the KZNSA gallery in August 2014. Each postcard given to each other was a direct visual and written response to the card that preceded it. This time instead of exchanging postcards we have decided to respond to assemblages that we make that will be based on the theme: Damage Control 

Some of my artworks in the past have included dead insects, birds and other small animals. I decided to use a carcass of a frog for my first exchange assemblage – I looked up the symbolic meaning of a frog: “...reminds us of the transient nature of our lives. As symbol of transition and transformation...Strongly associated with the water element, it connects us with the world of emotions and feminine energies, as well as the process of cleansing, whether it’s physical, emotional, or more spiritual or energetic.”

The snakeskin texture on the box reinforces the symbolism of the frog – the snake is also symbolic of transition. 

This frog lies on a bed or nest of nails that create a halo around the animal, but also suggests extreme hardship.  

View of whole assemblage above. 


iPad workshop for artists 

I am running a workshop from my classroom tommorrow that will hopefully encourage artists to engage with the iPad as a creative tool. I am going to introduce the participants to the app"Procreate".  

The following description of the app on the "app2art" website gives you an idea of the respect the app has earned since its creation: "Procreate is an extraordinarily powerful and Apple award winning art app. In terms of value for money it enables you do many things on your iPad that would require a Photoshop suite costing hundreds of pounds on your mainframe."

The workshop will start with an introduction to the procreate tools. I do have airserver loaded on my computer so I am hoping to demonstrate these tools directly from my ipad using my smartboard. I have also made a back up slideshow just in case we have a technology failure & I can't for some reason connect my iPad. 

The group then move on to creating a collage using a background image & two other images pre-selected & downloaded from a resource file in my box account. Again I intend using airsever but have made a back-up slideshow called "Collage on an ipad in Procreate app". They will make a very simple collage & learn how to move images, resize, and edit areas of images & finally work in layers within the app. 

I am hoping to get everyone inspired by showing them the two following youtube clips & a slideshow of a drawing I made of my Sphynx cat Sam as a sample digital drawing.

The rest of the workshop will be spent drawing/painting on the ipads. I look forward to witnessing lots of excitement and pleasure when the participants extend their skills on this very versatile app. 


Durban Girls' College Grade 12 Visual Arts exhibition 2014 

I can't believe that my time with this class is almost over. I have dragged them all over Durban in the school bus in pursuit of an expanded art education at the local galleries, cajoled them into listening to my art history lectures with promises of Youtube clips at the end of each lesson, discovered "selfies" of them on my phone, witnessed the 'torture' of non-arty students as models and been surprised by the whole group arriving at the opening of my exhibition at the KZNSA gallery this year.

Please feel free to pop in at school during school hours to view their fantastic exhibition.(or attend the opening) 


Understory Exhibition opening - 26 August 2014 

I generally find my own exhibitions quite nerve wracking, but for this particular one my emotions seemed to go into neutral, and just as Grade 12 class secretly organised to meet each other ouside the venue & surprise me. They sneaked in as a big group - I was standing on the balcony talking to the gallery assistant & all sixteen girls managed to get right up to me before I noticed them. They are in the middle of writing preliminary exams & sacrificed some of their study time to attend the opening - what a special gesture! 

Jenny Stretton, the senior curator from the Durban Art Gallery, opened the exhibition. 

This is an excerpt from her speech:  "In Understory we descend to a level below consciousness, below the physical and below logic. The artists have used botanical shapes as the ladder for their descent: a curvaceous, organic, root-like link brings the viewer down from the canopy to their world. There is a sense that we are not viewing abstracted forms in the real world but rather real forms in an abstracted world – an exhibition that Alice may have curated. But the work is more serious than that with both artists narrating internal journeys that paradoxically have their roots above ground in the hustle and bustle of everyday life: it’s as if they descend to process and express the tensions in modern society."  You can read the whole speech here. 


Problem Bowls

I have been collecting flyers advertising the services of traditional healers (Sangomas) for some years now. These flyers normally handed out at traffic lights advertise to cure all sorts of 'ailments' ranging from debt to ill health to lack of sexual performance.

The flyers even promise to get rid of & harness the power of a mythical creature called the Tokoloshe.  Unscrupulous individuals pretend to be genuine healers, distribute these flyers and often damage the lives of innocent people. 

 I used a daisy punch used by crafters to cut daisy shapes out of the flyers that I then assembled in ceramic bowls. The traditional flower meaning for the daisy is purity and innocence.  The theme of wishes - or unfulfilled wishes comes up repeatedly in this exhibition.