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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

BBB IN OCTOBER (article first published : 2005-10-11)

Bean Bag Bohemia’s visual arts component has recently set up a website at www.beanbagbohemia.co.za which details the three spaces available at Bean Bag as well as the new policies regarding the exhibiting of art.

The website has images of current and past work. There are three gallery spaces - The Reception Gallery (upstairs) which shows single bodies of work and changes monthly; The Salon Gallery (upstairs) which is an assortment of work themed into the exhibition In Communicado and changes every six months, and The Cafe Gallery (downstairs) which shows work of a graphic nature and shifts in response to demand.

All four new bodies of work still tie into the In Communicado theme. Anna Stankiewicz-Odoj, a Polish artist visiting Durban, will share the Cafe Gallery with Grace Hounsom in an exhibition entitled Ode to Red which will have an informal opening on October 23 from 17h00 before Anna returns to Poland. The work of both artists represents acrylic paintings on canvas. Anna deals with the symbolism of interiors whilst Grace explores Pop Art/Comic strip heroes and heroines.

Anna Stankiewicz-Odoj was born in Olsztyn, Poland. She finished her studies at the College of Fine Arts in Lodz where she received her diploma. She recently completed her PhD at the College of Fine Arts in Warsaw and is presently working as an Arts Professor in her hometown. Her works have been displayed at numerous exhibitions in and outside of Poland in Denmark and Germany. Her medium is mostly acrylic on canvas or paper and the subjects of her paintings are both figurative and abstract, with vibrant colours. She paints in various formats, yet she will be presenting her smaller work in Durban.

The past few months have seen Grace Hounsom pick up a paintbrush for the first time since her studies at Technikon Natal. “The traditional medium of oils is her first love,” she says, “but I have recently been experimenting with acrylic and have enjoyed the flexibility it allows me. Acrylic as a medium is quick convenient disposable and less daunting than oils and has given me a little more bravery when facing the stark white of a fresh canvas. I have loved working with the theme of pop art/comic strips. It has given me license to be romantic and play with fantasy. Resurrecting the art of life drawing - working with the human form - is at the heart of my work ... and finding new ways to do so is the challenge that lies ahead.”

The new exhibition in The Reception Gallery Only Carbon Arrows and Bullet Points and Under current will be opened on October 28 at 18h00 with drinks and snacks. It features the collaborative work of Brigitta Gaylard, Nic du Bois and poet Mary Rose Baillie. The works are a poetic combination of images and language. Some are printed, others photographs and paintings.

“Driving past the archery range on NMR avenue in Durban I was compelled to stop and somewhat obsessively photograph the targets,” says Brigitta Gaylard of her Target Series - Only Carbon Arrows and Bullet Points. “It was not the Jasper Johnsian circles that really interested me but the ambiguity of the matting strips that form the heart into which the carbon arrows and bullet points penetrate. These are 6mm high density foam mats that have been racked and stacked so that the arrows don’t bounce off the background but penetrate the background substrate. The rhythm of the stripes and the random grouping of colours reminded me of the contemporary fad in interior design and yet, the mats were somehow so much more visceral and textural and this was highlighted in the pieces where the dappled sunlight from trees fell over the range. The targets themselves, apart from being fabulously graphic, were shot to pieces: riddled with bullet holes and the wear and tear of use. Such a wonderful metaphor for woman. Starting out a young and fresh target, like a retouched photo in a glossy magazine and landing up riddled and shattered with the bullet and arrow holes from the work of Eros, soon to be cast aside in favour of the next target.

“As I shot the pieces a pattern or rhythm appeared in the very process of shooting,” continues Brifitta. “This is why I have not deleted any of the images from the exhibition. Every photo I shot will be there, in some way or another. Serendipitously, my favourite poet, Mary Rose Baillie, happened to leave a portfolio of poems, all written in the April of this year, for me to proof read about a day later. Having worked with her before for the Collaborations book (umSinsi Press, Ed. Charl Fregona, ISBN 1869001 – 29 – X), I grasped the opportunity to integrate some of the poems from this portfolio, into the piece. They work amazingly well with the targets. From a distance the work has an impersonal grid-like, graphic, and design oriented feeling, but up close each piece will be quite unique. Metaphorically this also relates to the way in which we experience life and other human beings whom at first often seem quite impersonal and homogenous. It takes closer inspection and time to unravel the beauty of each individual person or experience. The 100 odd pieces will be sold individually so that the public can interact with the piece by choosing their own combination of pieces to buy.”




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