Elevating the functional…

Detail from a colourful work by Derrick Nxumalo. It forms part of the Our Africa Dream exhibition opening in Durban on May

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BY BILLY SUTER

TWO new exhibitions open in Durban on Tuesday, May 23, and run until June 11, at the KZNSA Gallery at 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood – one of them, in the main gallery, celebrating ceramic works.

Title Elevating the Functional, this exhibition by members of the Ceramic Association of South Africa (CSA), established some 50 years or so ago, celebrates the beauty of things made by hand.

The KZNSA’s other exhibition, in the Mezzanine Gallery, is titled Our Africa Dreams and features solo work by Derrick Nxumalo, a self-trained artist with an adventurous and determined approach to his technique and subject matter.

Elevating the Functional focuses on clay as an expressive material. From the belly of a bowl to the gestural marks of an abstract sculptural piece, there is something of interest for those who wish to surround themselves with beauty. The material transforms from a lump of dirt into a myriad forms.

ceramic work by Lisa Ringwood.

“This exhibition celebrates the beauty of the handmade over the machine-made and brings artistic merit to functional items. Work on show – mugs, plates, bowls and platters – become a blend of fine art and functionality,” says a gallery spokesman.

Collectors looking to source the work of well-established ceramic artists will find pieces by Lindsay Scott, Astrid Dahl, Trayci Tompkins, Corrie Hook, Jo-Anne Kuter, Phumlani Nyawo, Frank Nythunya, Carla du Cruz, Carol Hayward Fell, Garth Hoets, Louise Jennings, Lynette Morris-Hale and many other artists.

Work on show includes beautiful utilitarian objects and sculptural art pieces.

“Lisa Ringwood, based in Cape Town, is this year’s invited artist and her work brings another dimension to the exhibition,” adds the spokesman.

“Lisa works from her studio in Kommetjie, where she uses hand building, pinching and slab moulding as building techniques, and graffito, coloured slips, oxides and under-glaze colours to decorate her work.

“She draws inspiration from daily life and nature, painting local birds, fynbos, trees and blossoms. Each piece speaks of an unhurried observation and care, and can trace its organic connection back to the earth from which it was made.

A work by Astrid Dahl.

“She achieves this without subscribing to symmetry or commercial uniformity, giving each piece a unique personality. There is an essence of domestic nostalgia captured in her work – a sense of daily life spilling over into her craft – art and life merging into each other, being inspired by one another, along with the joy of creating something functional.”

 

Nxumalo, in his Our Africa Dreams exhibition, shows he has developed a unique style, using his imagination and experience.. and has come up with work of intricate and intriguing quality.

Hus work is based on acute observation, often omitting the physical human presence. It is nevertheless a testimony to an extensive human existence and interaction with the environment.

The omission of the human presence often presents a surreal effect, with fine architectural details deployed with an absorbing understanding of perspective and colour in its purest form.

KZNSA Gallery hours are 9am to 5pm Tuesdays to Fridays, 9am to 4pm on Saturdays, and 10am to 4pm on Sundays and public holidays. It is closed on Mondays. The phone number is 031 277 1705.

This work by Lindsay Scott features in the Elevating the Functional exhibition at Durban’s KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood.

 


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