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STEPHEN TOWNLEY BASSETT (article first published : 2003-05-14)

Recently appearing on the Elizabeth Gordon Galleryís Art in Conservation exhibition, Stephen Townley Bassett has recently relocated to a farm near Molteno in the Eastern Cape to pursue his research on rock paintings of the San.

Not what one would call a conventional artist, his work is hailed by academics and fellow artists for his insight on the very cradle of painting and his contribution to present understanding of an ancient people's rites and traditions. His work is also unique in the fact that his current revelation is as much about examining the process and techniques of the ancestral San's paintings as it is about composition and interpretation by an accomplished contemporary painter.

His work as a dedicated conservationist is also worth noting. He has perfected a technique to remove the most stubborn and invasive graffiti from rock art sites and was on such a mission to Giant's Castle in the Drakensberg in February this year.

Steve Basset donated a complete set of six signed limited edition lithographic prints, one framed and a rare leather bound collector's book of his highly acclaimed work Rock Paintings of South Africa, Revealing a Legacy which received a special commendation in last year's NOMA awards.

Well-known artist Pippa Skotnes introduces this book by saying:" This book, more than any other work published in this country, grapples with what is at the very heart of painting - the artist's relationship with both their canvas and with their medium, and with the symbolic resonance of that relationship."

Steve Bassetís work is becoming greatly sought after by international collectors and the vision is to plan a series of international exhibitions in 2005.




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