Sculpture

The Aether is a “classical” element. It is that unattainable stuff that our planet floats in and in which light used to propagate throughout the cosmos.
Aether is also the air of gods, the clear, fresh sky as in Greek mythology. It is the inexplicable Zeug between you and I which we can feel as a breeze caressing our cheeks, but yet cannot see, taste or physically grasp.
Aether has an air of ancient spirituality to it. The age of modern science and analytical experimental research has changed all that. Its etherial meaning has been quantified into joules, knots and wavelengths.
The Aether has been given quantifiable Substance.

This is a pretext in which I have been delving for the past several years, that cusp between science and art, between history and presence, the real and the surreal.

My work explores these aspects of the here and there, consciously wanting the spectator to partake in a first-hand experience through the optical media of glass, juxtaposing our contemporary trend of consuming second-hand information through the battery operated lenses in our hands. (…and maybe even offering an alternative window to the spiritual…)

There also is a trend in my work which refers directly to my personal environment. Living next to an informal settlement with ca. 3000 people housing in tin shacks I am influenced by the immediacy of making due with what one has. I am using parts in my sculptures found around my studio such as rocks, wire, steel and even off-cut shards of glass.

These seemingly worthless objects and materials are reappropriated, given new life. Intervening in each part of the sculpture; by polishing facets or cutting patterns in the glass; straightening steel wires; drilling holes into rocks; I am adding value to the banality of the object. Combining these individual elements I instil a narrative which conforms to my initial concept – the immediacy of experience within our everyday lives.

Each sculpture is an individual step in this visual journey I am on. They are small interventions to rekindle that Aha! moment we all so desperately hunt for, but rarely experience in this thicket of visual overload.

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“Kuruvinda” is the title of my latest optical sculpture. The title of a work of art is always a very personal interpretation. It gives the new born creation a name to enter this world, to communicate it’s character or an abstract message from the maker.

“Kuruvinda” is the Sanskrit name for ruby which is the colour of the laminated sheet of hand made Murano sheet glass at its base. Why Sanskrit? No particular reason other than Kuruvinda being an unusual and exotic sounding name with cryptic references to my trade, its history and tools. Corundum, another name for ruby and a naturally found mineral is extremely hard, 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness whereas diamond is ten. It is used as an abrasive as it can scratch almost any other softer mineral. I use corundum wheels to decoratively cut my glass… and it has been used as such for millennia.

But then the work also needs to speak for itself. The title is merely a facet of the whole. As an artist you need to instil your personality and confidence into the intended work. The artwork becomes an extension of you, one aspect of the journey you are on.

Once the sculpture is “on stage” for an audience to critically engage with the spectacle it embodies, the story takes form. I link my work to many references, like instruments and voices in a musical ensemble, combining glass, light, stone, steel and sometimes wood in harmony; and sometimes also in disharmony. There are hints to my intentions but I very much enjoy an ambiguous narrative. This allows the spectator to experience the work on their own terms and diversifies its existence through their interpretations.

The nuances are always so subtle that it is almost impossible for everyone to see or experience my optical anomalies exactly the same way.

My sculptures could be likened to music for the eyes.

You are invited to attend the opening and exhibition of contemporary South African Glass Art titled:

 

Thresholds (in)between Glass curated by Thabang Monoa at Art It Is.
Opening: 04 February 2016 18:00 by Dr. Ingram Anderson.
Participating artists: Martli Jansen van Rensburg, Retief van Wyk, Mike Hyam, Liesl Roos, Iwan van Blerk, Ryan Manuel, Greg Miller, Lothar Böttcher, Thabang Monoa, Kgotso Pati, Pfunzo Sidogi, Rina Myburgh, Marileen van Wyk, Bongani Dlamini and Chonat Getz.

 

Art It Is – 011 447 9176 admin@artitis.co.za

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Lenses, almost a natural lineage of glass making when you approach your material as a cold worker, grinder and polisher. Refractive qualities of the polished surfaces bend and distort light which passes through this optical medium. These qualities are exactly what I am exploring in my current journey.

The lenses I am making are more than mere cold working processes or exercises. They are metaphors. Metaphors on the modern dilemma of information overload. Our modern anxious lifestyles of sharing kitten fotos and selfies to be consumed and liked in an instant (or not) by strangers on all continents.

My lenses differ from the battery operated ones we hold in our hands. They only need light – and a spectator – to “convert” first-hand information into unique first-hand visual experiences, transforming contiguous spaces within and beyond, distorting the finely aligned mathematical radiation of the electromagnetic waves we perceive as visible light. Maintaining an intentional “handmade-ness” I explore the optical possibilities and sculptural diversity glass has to offer and emulate the origins of my craft (from toolmaking in pre-historic times).

These maquettes are studies. Although small, the spaces they capture are limitless. My intention is to make them large, as public sculptures. Their function is to stimulate awareness of the contiguous spaces where we find ourselves. To bring us back to the here and now.

This theme of immediacy has been part of my creative vernacular for many years, due, in part, to the “window”, process and optical qualities glass offers. It is just that now, more than ever, my understanding of how huge the universe is and how inconsequential our actions are in relation to the immenseness of the cosmos.

Our insatiable appetite for knowledge and fearless endeavours to explore uncharted territory informs the flip-side of my creative coin. It is exactly this Aha! moment I am after, that instant which spurs spiritual growth and makes us human.

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Blossom.

Go outside and see life emerging from nooks and crannies. It is almost Spring and nature is reactivating, energy’s emerging everywhere and things are blossoming…

 

Blossom is on show at Art It Is for “Upcycle Chic”

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Chasing the Sun, written by Richard Cohen inspired “Shine”. In his book Cohen explores the meaning and connectedness we have with our closest star. From this vantage point my vision of who we are and where we come from broadened.
Dividing night and day with sunrise and sunset as we rotate around our own axis, the sun splashes our humble existence with visible light as we labour in its heat on the surface of this planet, the only place we can call home in the known universe.
As Carl Sagan also mused, the sun and stars in general are the engines which “manufacture” all the elements within our universe through the process of fusion. Every supernova or exploding star ejects these bits and pieces that our world and everything on it are made of. What Sagan said is that the cosmos is in us, we are made of “star stuff” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xaj407ofjNE)
This thought echoes my mother’s words which her father told her on explaining religion: “God is in you.”
I agree, our gods are in us all…

 

“Shine” is available at Dimitrov Gallery, Dullstroom

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Halifax Art in Parkhurst is hosting an eclectic art group exhibition.
Participating artists include:
Lynette van Tonder
Gerrie van Tonder
Themba Khumalo
Eric Eatwell
Braam van Wyk
Louise Barnard
Marina Louw
Lothar Böttcher
…and more.

The show will run for a limited time only. A walkabout evening with participating artists will be announced.

Several of new and previous work of mine are represented at this show.

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“8” is the title of my latest instalment on the Anomaly series. Reference is made to the eight sides of this solid optical crystal sculpture, a criptical allusion to the infinite (∞) views and ways light is stretched, pushed and bent before it enters your eye.
To rationalise my work through scientific means would only define a small portion of its essence. The science could be ascribed to the original drawing or concept but the true essence lies in the process, the journey.
This is where intuition, experience and the human touch meticulously shape the surface to reveal the inner magic, an unexplainable experience of not quite understanding but being drawn in at the wonderment of our universe.
I am on journey to define and experience the here and now through my sculptures.

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It saddens me that we are standing on the brink of full blown violence yet again. I can but only hope that sensibility will prevail and that the past which shaped this nation will guide us through this perilous time.
We must hold on to our humanity and understand that we all bleed red, all have similar desires. We must focus on the future we want for our children and realize it will only be possible through hard work and working together.
Everything that has been accomplished thus far will be destroyed if we don’t take responsibility and selflessly lead our beloved South Africa out of these days of darkness.

 

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In 2013 I experienced my first Afrika Burn. There are no words that could possibly describe the experience. You drive through the last outpost of civilization on the West side of South Africa (sorry Calvinia) and then turn down an unforgiving tire chewing dirt road to the end of the world.

Obviously I read a lot about AB before this trip. What to take with and what to expect. One word caught my eye and stuck – “participation“. In the guidelines and well stocked informative website it states:
“We call it the “DO-ocracy”. Forget standing at the sidelines. Jump in with both feet and get busy.”

Well, I prepared and packed my little suitcase of mirrors and tested the waters with a theoretical project. If one could focus sunlight with enough mirrors on a combustible target we should get fire? Fire from the sky… right?

This initial test was a failure but the idea was a success. All the participants (I packed 100 mirrors and got at least 25 people to hold two mirrors each) believed in the theory!

So, back to the drawing board… I started preparing and mulling over ideas to make this project a success.

AB 2014 was fast approaching and with the help of great friends – Thomas König & Samuel Weisenborn – we built the sculpture and fine-tuned the details with contingency plans. Anything that could possibly go wrong was though off and sorted. Then Thomas slipped of the first rung of the stepladder whilst we were busy with the final coat of paint, one week before lift off, and broke his ankle. Disaster!!

Thomas, being who he is, kept the spirits high. He helped direct the packing as we needed his Land Rover to get down, flailing his crutches as we tied down the steel to the roof rack. We needed a four-man crew. Billy, Sam’s 20 year old son and Inglin, my son, made up the final crew. (b.t.w. Sam and Billy flew in especially from Germany, helped with the construction and made this project possible.)

Cosmic Ignition” refers to bringing fire from the sky. It is a participatory art project that enables the spirit of participation and collective focus to achieve a common goal. The basic outline is to have volunteers help reflect sunlight from the sky on a “target”, igniting the combustible materials (newspaper and pine cones) and bring the Mother Flame to Earth.

The gods smiled on us and send fire from the sky. Guiding the light we ignited Cosmic Ignition and lit the Mother Flame.

Thank you to all you beautiful people who helped prove the theory right last year! Keep on giving and never stop participating!!

link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JE_j56lPiRo

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