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INTIMATE AVERSIONS (article first published : 2006-12-18)

Due for artSPACE Durban in January is an exhibition of paintings by Robert Balfour titled Intimate Aversions.

Influenced by Hopper, Masereel, and Stagg, Balfour focuses mainly on streets and buildings of Durban in this exhibition in which the night is explored as an 'othering' influence on identity in the city.

Employing oil and acrylic paints to create highly textured and rough surfaces, colour and form clash as highways end abruptly, figures taper into neon signs, are part of buildings or struggle to escape them.

At night the city is both sealed by darkness and defined by light. Easily identified by day, Grey Street landmarks become unreliable at night as streets and buildings (whether on Musgrave, Pine, or Commercial streets) disappear into darkness. And, what appears as night 'life', flickering neon signs, or the twinkle of sodium lamps over the harbour water, can suggest, just as easily, desolation and abandonment or activity or energy.

Robert Balfour is an academic. He holds degrees from the universities of Rhodes, Natal, and Cambridge. While at Rhodes University he studied History of Art. He currently teaches at the University of KwaZulu-Natal on modules in language education and has taught in both the Humanities and Education faculties in the College of Humanities.

Intimate Aversions runs from January 15 to February 3. More information to be found at www.artspacedurban.co.za




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