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GRAHAMSTOWN NOTES 2 (article first published : 2000-07-3)

Take yourself up Somerset Street to the Upper House of St Andrew’s College and when you see the signs saying” Paintings Without Paint”, follow them. If you don’t, you’ll miss out on some extraordinary artwork.

Created by well-known artist Matt Louwrens, the “paintings without paint” are fairly large pieces created from mineral sand shown alongside Matt’s pleasing paintings in oils and watercolour. There are two depicting elephants and one a seascape, created from a finicky process which he has perfected. Titled Fury with a price tag of R17,000, an image of a charging bull elephant churning up a dust storm impresses, while a mother elephant with her youngster offers a gentler appeal. The other sand work is a seascape and when he put the idea to his wife, she was highly sceptical – “How can you make a seascape out of sand?” Go and see the result for yourself. Seeing is believing in this case!

Also appearing on Matt Louwrens‘ exhibition this year is Mike Palmer who is showing a series of found pieces of wood which he has either adapted to work as mirrors, lampshades and clocks or else left in the sculpted fashion produced by nature. Mike owns the 1900 hectare farm Strowan which is situated 7km outside Grahamstown. As he has moved around the farm on which he grew up, he has collected pieces of wood that have shapes that catch his eye – some of which he believes have been lying around for between 50 and 100 years.

He levels a base or skillfully inserts either a clock mechanism or lampshade attachment without altering the aesthetic value of the piece and adds a touch of varnish. The result? An attractive piece of Grahamstown fauna and flora with a practical dimension!

Most of the pieces such as Rhus, knobwood, wild olive or sneezewood Mike can identify either on sight or when he cuts through them and the grain is revealed. However, there are some pieces he can’t put a name to, so if there are any wood experts in Grahamstown for the festival, he would welcome their knowledge. Contact Mike Palmer on (046) 622-7817.




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