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DOORWAY (article first published : 2005-07-21)

Bevel Art Gallery will host an exhibition for Steven Mandy titled Doorway at the Chardonnay Restaurant at Gateway.

The following is a resume written by Karishma Ganpat.

A talented Durban artist, Steve has just opened his own gallery in Frere Road and has a number of portraits, and life art forms. He has the ability to capture people physical image as well as reflect the sensuality of the subject.

“A beautiful image is a beautiful because the composition is right”, this is the belief of Stephen Mandy, artist and financial consultant of Liberty Life. Prior to the year 2000 Mandy hadn’t the slightest idea of his artistic capabilities. It only became apparent on his visit to a gallery in Durban, after failing to interpret an obscure piece of art that he decided to create some of his own.

His first attempt was an interpretation of Picasso’s Blue Lady, a mural in his new apartment three months after his divorce.

Mandy later began taking classes to brush up on his painting techniques; one of his favourite artists is Pascal Chandler whose work revolves on a contemporary theme. “Pascal’s ability to transform a seemingly mundane images is what captures me”, says Mandy enthusiastically. By far his biggest influence in his art career comes from Kay Smart, a Fine Arts Lecturer at the Durban Institute of Technology; he calls her his ‘mentor’.

Stephen Mandy was born in Scottburgh, South Africa, in 1957. At the age of three his family immigrated to Yorkshire in the United Kingdom. Mandy is one of five children; his father was a lawyer with a strong distaste of the apartheid regime. At the age of 15 Mandy was recruited by the British Army, after serving six years he returned to South Africa where he was first employed by Toyota Manufacturers moving on to working for Peter Baker Office Furniture before starting his own office furniture company.

For the past eleven years Mandy found himself a rewarding career at Liberty Life as a Financial Consultant. “I have a lovely job visiting old friends, drinking lots of tea, where I can work at my own pace and still have time to be creative.”

“Gallery Steve Mandy” previously known as “Gallery 238” originated from the idea of creating a platform and the opportunity for un-established artists to exhibit their work. Mandy believes South Africa needs to showcase more local talent. The gallery was opened on 01 April 2005 with a solo exhibition of his work.

“On display I have a number of portraits, and life art forms. I like to think I possess the ability to capture people. Every model is different, in my paintings I hope to capture not just a physical image but the attitude as well and reflect the sensuality of the subject.”

Mandy wanted to create a place with an atmosphere that exudes creativity in its varied forms, and provide a space where one could purchase supplies, have art lessons, develop techniques and some day exhibit. He finds it hugely rewarding to discover an artist with potential and raw talent that can be developed further.

Mandy has a strong bias against fine art academic structure as he believes that the result often destroys a spontaneous energy by putting pressure to make things too symbolic or politically provoking or message delivering, and sometimes their education has led to the limitations in their ability to just express the passion that lies within. They are taught to use an intellectual language that only art academics understand, and this becomes a measure of their worth as an artist.

Mandy also co-ordinates exhibitions, in the past he has exhibited the works of Branco Domitrov, Marcelle Gilson at Gallery 238 and Lee Scott Hempson at the Grillroom Café.

Mandy’s believes an important part of the art world is about marketing. The great masters were fantastic at promoting their own personalities. Whilst on occasion their work was average, they got away with it because their marketing was brilliant. There have been accomplished artists in recent years but none will measure up to their marketing genius of their forefathers.

The opening of the exhibition will take place at 15h00 on July 31 after which it will run for six weeks until September 10. More information on 031 260 2719, fax 031 260 2740 or e-mail: Bennettb@ukzn.ac.za




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