“This exhibition consists of paper pulp paintings based on various landscape images. The pieces are based on photographs I have taken in and around Johannesburg, which have been abstracted into what could be seen as pixelated colour scapes. Other pieces are based on J.H. Pierneef’s Johannesburg Railway Panel paintings and more abstract pieces that deal with landscape in a different manner.
The artworks were all produced by working with paper pulp in its liquid form, and dyeing it, turning it into a paint of sorts. These colours were then deposited into a grid structure to create the pixelated or mosaic-like effect evident in most of the pieces. Other artworks, such as the Idylle series were made by pouring the pulp onto paper frames. After the artworks were ‘cast’ in the manner discussed above, they had to be pressed and dried over a period of a week or two, and this often yielded different results. It is difficult to predict how different batches of pulp would shrink and discolour in the process, and this is what lends each piece its unique appearance as not only a flat surface, but a textured object that is also an image.
The colours used in the artworks are very much related to a nostalgic understanding I have of Johannesburg and South African landscape. Blue is really important in many of the pieces; these familiar shades of blue are also present in Pierneef’s paintings, which resonated for me with a unique South African landscape palette of colours. The blue sky is a natural element present in even the most industrial parts of the city.
The other important colours are oranges, earth tones and pinks, and these remind me of the brick work used in 1970’s architecture in Johannesburg’s inner city, as well as the earth tones in Pierneef’s work, and landscape representations by artists such as Thomas Baines. The grid-like structure, dots and shapes play with the structure of landscape in artworks. Abstracted landscape elements such as the flowers depicted on the Queen Anne china pieces resonated with how landscape itself is connected with nostalgia (something we yearn for, but in the past), construction, in that it is a false or artificial idea of the natural world, and photography, a way of taking ownership of the landscape by turning it into an image or object. ”
– Landi Raubenheimer
In Toto Gallery
Address: 6 Birdhaven Centre 66 St Andrew Street Birdhaven
Johannesburg – Exhibition Thu 23 June – Mon 25 July