BY BILLY SUTER
A LESS obvious and opposing view of the female body, using pen and ink drawings on lightweight, acid-free paper, displayed in suspension so both the front and the reverse side of the image can be viewed.
That’s at the core of Everything I Never Told You, a solo exhibition by Bernice Stott, to be presented from February 1 to March 1 at the Artplus Gallery, 32 Solstice Road, Umhlanga.
“The reverse side is more ethereal and mysterious than the ‘front’ view, presuming the ‘front’ view to be explicit. It is a resistant view in that the sensuousness of the body is subtle and the subject seems to have more ownership of how she wishes to be viewed,” explains Stott.
“The human narrative holds mystery for me and is at the centre of my work. I am also intrigued by the female body in contemporary South Africa and social issues of the environment.
“Currently I am drawing and painting, although photography has led me to into the media of video and performance art. Art-making feeds my soul: it is a place of solitude yet it provides me with an engagement of both my internal and external lifem,” she adds.
“The female body has been a consistent interest of mine. Figure drawing is arguably the most difficult subject an artist commonly encounters. Artists draw from live models or photographs, memory and imagination.
“Drawing from imagination is often lauded for the expressiveness it encourages, and criticised for the inaccuracies introduced by the artist’s limited memory in visualising the human figure.
“The 1970’s saw a burgeoning of artists focusing on ways in which the female body is presented, particularly focusing on female objectification; where a woman is viewed as an object whilst a man is the viewing subject. In the history of painting this dominant view came to be identified and named the ‘male gaze’.”
Stott has worked across disciplines in the media of painting, photography, sculpture, installation and performance art. Her associated activities have included curatorship of exhibitions and community art projects.
Nationally, she has exhibited in several centres, including the acclaimed Liquid Light at artSPACE Durban (2014). She has a Masters Degree in Fine Arts and an Honours Degree in Drama, and has taught in both the Fine Arts and the Drama Departments of Durban University of Technology, and the Drama Department of UKZN.
The gallery also retails art supplies, offers workshops and lessons and boasts a comfortable coffee shop.
Visit http://www.artplus.co.za or phone 031 584 7016 for more details.