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CARL ROBERTS (article first published : 2004-04-23)

Respected, acclaimed and prolific Hillcrest-based sculptor Carl Roberts is to present a rare solo exhibition hosted by Neil and Liesel Wright of the quaint thatched Bonisa Private Gallery during May.

Carl prefers to work with found organic materials, usually wood, bone or clay. The wood is found washed up on the KZN beaches and the bones come from game reserves, farmers and friends. He breathes new life into the weathered and discarded, transforming the material into something out of the ordinary while allowing it to inherit the qualities that make the materials interesting.

Flaws in the wood and distinctive markings in the bone become features giving the finished sculptures a delicate sense of oneness with the medium from which they are crafted.

Carl’s work is unashamedly bold but simultaneously surprisingly delicate. Sometimes monumental and sometimes small and personal, nearly all have a gentle agility and movement. All are beautifully finished. This is art that begs to be touched, stroked and felt – not just a feast for the eyes.

Carl’s work (he says) is mostly fairly auto-biographical. His interest in mythology, and work that is inspired by his children, are reflected in his sculptures: Medusa heads, Icarus figures, caterpillars and bugs. He believes in working with the sub-conscious and lateral thinking. Therefore images emerge and evolve as he crafts his work and are not predetermined. Whilst most are linked to a personal experience others are archetypal, symbolic and a mix of African and Western consciousness. Visitors to the Durban ICC will be familiar with his work - his huge Lion adorns the main basement entrance to the building.

This is Carl Roberts’s first solo show. His work is so enthusiastically lapped up by collectors – nationally and internationally – that he rarely exhibits and even then, he usually prefers to have a presence at collaborative exhibitions around the country. The month-long solo show at Bonisa Private Gallery provides a rare opportunity to see a body of this phenomenal artist’s work.

Bonisa’s regular Open Day will take place on May 2 from 10h00 until 16h00 and will also feature John Simpson at work at his Japanese styled cards. On May 5, Carl will be Artist-in-Residence and will give a personal guided tour of his work at 10h00.

Visitors are welcome throughout the month, by appointment. Bonisa is a comfortable, flexible, relatively new gallery space at 47 Ronalds Road, Kloof. Directions or more information on 031 764 0288 or visit www.bonisa.co.za




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