WITH MANDY COPPES–MARTIN
LIZAMORE & ASSOCIATES GALLERY, JHB
2 – 28 NOVEMBER, 2017
IMAGE: Mandy Coppes-Martin
“In his book Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell describes a double-speak totalitarian state where most of the population accepts “the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them”…The world not imagined is the one that now exists”
– Ian Dunlop, The Guardian (2017)
'Myopia' (2017), a two-woman exhibition by Mandy Coppes-Martin and Ronél De Jager, queries our myopic lens and global mindsets on environmental issues through a series of mixed media works, examining beautiful and precarious seascapes and landscapes.
Myopia: experienced as an eye disorder where objects in the distance seem blurry, more commonly known as near-sightedness but also defined as a lack of intellectual foresight, is suggestively placed within the layers of this exhibition. Sourced from photographs of oil spills, underwater imagery and aerial and infrared photography, the works subvert its functionality, using evocative, sensorial materials to entice and destabilise the viewer’s expectations.
Ronél De Jager, presents a new series of paintings to consider ways of looking. Experimenting with the visual experiences of myopia in the close-up stills of a quiet, seemingly undisturbed undersea world with more abstract paintings of fossil-like forms and topological views.
De Jager exposes our own myopia through the individual stills of a quiet, seemingly undisturbed undersea world, placing that which we don’t often consider on her canvas. De Jager layers the visual construction of the image using photographic practices and techniques with the meditative process of painting, De Jager requests the viewer slow down, stare a little longer at the complexity and play of colour, shape and form.
These images allude to an undersea world we don’t often have an association or connection with, except for perhaps on a seaside holiday, a visit to the Aquarium or an episode of David Attenborough’s The Blue Planet. In a comparable way, De Jager paints an intimate narration with specific decisions on the scale of canvas directing our view and varying painterly qualities and styles which switch our thinking strategies, engaging our ‘sympathetic curiosity’ with the undersea world.
In her fossil-like ocean creatures, submarine volcanic mountains and topological imagery, De Jager encapsulates the birth, death and energy potentials of these forms and creatures. Embedded with historical traces of earth’s evolution, she distils these thoughts into the paintings.
These quiet moments of pervading water are then disrupted by the elements of her abstract, drip painting style experimenting with the impacts of gravity, velocity and consistency which repel and bind the paint on the canvas. Through an exploration of the tactility and movement of paint, De Jager reference’s aerial, infrared photography where ocean meets land and imagines a landscape where vegetation had been submerged on to the ocean’s floor.