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SACRED STONES (article first published : 2005-10-20)

Well-known and respected Durban artist Aidan Walsh will present a series of new paintings titled Sacred Stones in the KZNSA’s Mezzanine & Park Gallery. This event follows on previous successful exhibitions in Durban and Cape Town, investigating and depicting Karoo landscapes and scenes.

With his consummate observation skills, Aidan Walsh's fascinating portrayal of his journeys through the hinterlands establishes an empathy with the subject, and allows new readings of these seemingly desolated and 'empty' spaces.

The art critic Lloyd Pollak stated: “Walsh concentrates on the commonplace and the nondescript, yet the results are far from mundane, for Walsh provides an astonishing revelation of the inalienable strangeness that underlies the everyday surface of things”. It is this strangeness that is also a unique characteristic of his work.

Aidan Walsh maintains that “I only paint things which affect me: if something does not touch me, it is not worth the effort”. Hidden in this statement is a hint of an acute artist’s eye for the unusual and sublime in the everyday, realised in paintings that do not depict the strange and bizarre but reveals itself unexpectedly:

“Wide desolate landscapes. Dereliction. Intriguing natural rock formations. Stones used for sacred purposes. Ancient churches, sites and temples. Buildings in a state of decay, redolent of the generations who have lived and worshipped there. Janis Joplin. Blues singers. Tom Waites. Hildegarde von Bingen. Antique chants of India. All these things are part of my world,” he says.

Born in Durban and trained at the then Natal Technical College, and later in London, Aidan Walsh has been a professional painter all his adult life. He has also been influential in the South Africa art scene since 1961, as a gallerist and curator. His works are collected in numerous collections (public and private) locally as well as in France, the United Kingdom, India, Australia and New Zealand. He lives and works in Durban.

The exhibition runs from October 25 at 18h00 until November 13 at the KZNSA and is funded with a grant from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund.




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