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This article comes from Cristiana Cavalieri, who interns at CN&CO and contributes regularly to the CN&CO blog.
By Cristiana Cavalieri
I recently made my first art purchases at The Gallery, an art gallery in Riebeeck-Kasteel. Situated 80km from Cape Town, in the Riebeeck Valley, Riebeeck-Kasteel is one of the oldest towns in South Africa.
Astrid McLeod founded The Gallery in 2012 and showcases a selected range of upmarket artworks from both local and national artists. These include ceramics, original paintings, sculptures, carvings, prints and more. The Gallery offers something for all tastes.
Artists Julia Cavalieri, Sue Martin and Sharon Sampson were lucky enough to exhibit their individual works in this beautiful gallery with their Solo x3 Illusion Allusion exhibition. The exhibition was opened by Diana Williams, the founder of ArtTrails, previously head of the mentorship programme at Business and Arts South Africa and current board member and vice chair of the Association of Visual Arts.
Sue and Julia previously exhibited together at Villa Arcadia in 2009, and the Solo x3 exhibition debuted at Gibs in Johannesburg at the end of 2018.
Julia recently received the award for the most outstanding international artist at the San Diego Art Fair. Julia, Sue and Sharon come together by conjuring up references to the spaces we inhabit both physically and emotionally. How the artists portray their space is unique to each one, however the theme is shared.
Julia’s paintings depict projections of the subconscious, the allusion of a very private space – an inner nest moulded by an outside world. The artist Ricky Burnett has said of Julia’s work, “Julia paints not to make pictures, but to use paint as a poet uses words, to put before us and invite us into a ‘place’ of special experience”. A new dimension to her work has been added through her recent exploration of sculptures as shown in her “Shadow Nests” bronzes.
Sue’s subject matter focuses on literal and figurative journeys. Sue makes use of mixed media which forms part of the alchemical process, mixing beeswax and oil paint to produce images of depth and beauty. Lie of the Land incorporates Sue’s growing passion for including the printed word onto her surfaces which has led her to explore spatial considerations within a painting; layering different surfaces and different meanings.
Sharon’s works are presented as oil paintings and prints. Sharon explains that “the print ignites the canvasses and the canvasses feed off each other, creating a thread of narrative emerges”. The combination of inks and oils provides a platform to express the flow of human relationships.
A friend and I walked around the gallery debating the meaning of the individual pieces and what we admired about each of them. I thoroughly enjoyed this activity. Eventually we arrived at a shelf covered in ceramic bowls, spoons and ornaments. It was at this table that I eyed-out my soon-to-be purchases. The first is a gold-rimmed ceramic bowl with the words “Oh look, the fuck up fairy has visited” imprinted inside. The second is a gold-plated bowl with a charcoal-drawn crab in the middle (being a Cancerian, this seemed apt). Something about this exhibition opened my eyes and soul to the world of art. I cannot wait for the next one.