November 5, 2020 - KEELY SHINNERS | ARTTHROB

A couple of years ago, I was working as an assistant at a gallery. We were hosting a group show in which one of the works was to be a giant bird’s nest, sewn together out of hay from the artist’s farm, complete with several dozen handmade ceramic eggs. When the crated artwork arrived,we were somewhat irritated by its contents. The nest was dirty. It shed clumps of straw each time it was touched and left streaks of dirt on the floor and our clothes. Worst of all, though, were the bugs: muggies buzzing in our ears, fleas chowing our legs. After three days, our director had had enough. The nest was to be sent back, the eggs placed on a plinth like any normal sculpture. 


REVIEW: Pneuma: Swain Hoogervorst’s ‘In Between Spaces’

September 29, 2020 - Ashraf Jamal | ARTTHROB

After a deluge, one of many in a sodden Cape Town winter, light pours through the studio window in Woodstock, Cape Town. The mountain and highway are blotted out, concrete buildings soaked, a turquoise blue garage-roof the only bright thing in a blur. On the windowsill a plate of rusty lemons, a pot plant, rusty too, though life still lingers green. On a wooden desk the stricken plant casts its shadow. Two lamps are angled about drying sunflowers in a sparkling blue vase, near ovoid, an upended eye. Lapis Lazuli. Madonna blue.

 Swain Hoogervorst, Deconstruction of a Vase of Flowers (3), 2020. Oil on Belgian linen, 40 x 30cm

In this painting of a vase of limp sunflowers, Hoogervorst has sketched the rudimentary coordinates and concordances that allow one to take hold of the world, see it. A line, fleck, squab of colour, runnel of paint, a shape, then another. Because nothing quite holds the eye, directs attention, looseness prevails. A sketch is not the beginning of something, it is everything, and nothing, or, nothing quite, because what binds the eye’s saccadic flickering grasp is the realisation that forms, shapes, the things we espy, take hold barely.  Forms quaver, things judder, a featureful yet featureless soup. Morphogenetic, things – paintings – self-organise. A feedback loop, the eye, brain, imagination, seeks structure inside the unpredictable, but what it cannot countenance, pull together, is the void. 


In conversation with Lionel Smit

September 8, 2020 - France Beyers | STELLENBOSCH VISIO

Acclaimed South African artist Lionel Smit takes Stellenbosch Visio editor France Beyers through his studio, sharing his inspirations and the creative process behind some of his most distinctive works. 

Known for his contemporary portraiture, large canvases and sculptures, Smit has carved out an international career through his distinctive art. Smit’s work has been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London and was selected as the ‘face’ of the BP Portrait Award. Over the past 10 years, he has established a substantial international following with collectors ranging from the Standard Chartered Bank to Laurence Graff Art Collection at Delaire Graff wine estate.

We meet the artist in his studio ahead of his exhibitions at Everard Read and the KUNST art fair in October 2020.


Blessing’s Chaotic Pleasure visualizes black child’s future through art

August 31, 2020 - Mpiletso Motumi | IOL

Johannesburg - Blessing Ngobeni uses art to express his opinion.

“It is the best way for me to influence or engage in global matters that affect me and the world I live in.”

His solo exhibition, “Chaotic Pleasure”, is now showing at the Standard Bank Gallery.

“Art enables me to narrate stories of the past, historical events that affect the present life of a black child. I am able to visualise the future life of the black child through art.”


Acclaimed South African Sculptor Deborah Bell Revisits Classic Works

August 24, 2020 - Chris Jenkins | arts & collections

Deborah Bell, one of South Africa’s most eminent and critically acclaimed artists, returns to London with an exhibition at Everard ReadSentinels is a major exhibition of monumental sculptures and more than 30 new paintings created over the past two years. At the heart of the exhibition are eight towering, 2.5-metre-high sculptures, Sentinels (2020). Cast in bronze, their origins trace back to the series of nine sentinels the artist made in 2003.



Coded Inscriptions: Blessing Ngobeni's "Chaotic Pleasure'

July 6, 2020 - Review by Barnabas Ticha Muvhuti | Artthrob

The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines Stockholm Syndrome as ‘the psychological tendency of a hostage to bond with, identify with, or sympathize with their captor.’ It is hard to make sense of the multiple problems we face in this fast-moving world, so we soldier on like we are addicted to the disorder. Blessing Ngobeni’s ‘Chaotic Pleasure’ invites us to pause and reflect on the complex issues of power and abuse. It is also an ideal critical response to the confusing, dramatic, and uncertain times we are caught up in. The exhibition includes large scale mixed media paintings, sculpture and drawings in the artist’s trademark animated form. The artist also incorporates fascinating coded inscriptions.  The work is featured in the inaugural virtual National Arts Festival (vNAF), itself a response to the outbreak of the novel COVID-19 pandemic. Ngobeni is the Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art for 2020.

The work in this exhibition addresses many issues traversing from the intensely personal – A Thing Of The Past Haunts I-VI  finds Ngobeni reflecting on a troubled past in the countryside, and in the urban jungle that is Johannesburg – to the pressing forces of the everyday. Key national problems like the contentious land ownership issue, tribalism, and corruption that derails progress are not spared in this conceptually rich, raw, and uncompromising show. Ngobeni is a proud African who wants to see a united continent moving forward, embracing progress. This is seen through his damning critique of xenophobia and the genocides of the past. In Shopping For Black Skin I & II, the artist also problematizes conflicts fueled by the outside world bent on stealing the continent’s resources amidst the chaos they create in cahoots with greedy African puppet leaders.


To read more, follow the link to full review here:  

Tanya Poole featured on 10 Artworks From Artnet’s Gallery Network That Our Experts Are Loving This Week

May 14, 2020 - artnet Gallery Network | artnet

Every week, we explore the thousands of galleries on the Artnet Gallery Network to highlight the spaces and artworks inspiring us right now. Take a look at our latest picks.


Link to full article here:

New oil paintings by Philip Barlow that look like 'bokeh' effect photographs of New York

April 28, 2020 - Katy Cowan | Creative Boom

We've long admired the work of Philip Barlow, the South African artist who tricks us with his incredible oil paintings that look like "bokeh" effect photographs. You know, when the lens is out-of-focus to deliberately create appealing blurred lights.

His latest series, which is due to go on show at Galerie LeRoyer in Montréal this summer, continues to look at some of our favourite street scenes from cities around the world, New York City being a running theme.



Link to full article here:

CHANT: Faith XLVII’s public practice

April 22, 2020 - Dave Mann | MAVERICK LIFE ART

If you have passed through some of Johannesburg’s more bustling reaches recently, you may have spotted a statement, or an invitation, written on the walls in tall, block letters: ‘CHANT. CHANT. CHANT’.

The words were painted by interdisciplinary artist Faith XLVII on one of her recent trips to the city, and form part of a broader body of work the artist is moving towards – one that seeks to both highlight the daily din of the contemporary world, and carve out pockets of quiet reflexivity among it all.


Read the full article here:

6 rising art stars to catch in Miami this week

December 3, 2019 - Andrew Sessa | New York Post

Julian Navarro has a keen eye for spotting talent. As director of Art Miami — celebrating its 30th anniversary this week — as well as its sister shows Context in Miami and New York, the curator and cultural entrepreneur has his finger on the pulse of all that’s new and notable. He sees Miami’s Art Week as “a good platform to see fresh work” and loves that “a lot of artists spend all year producing exciting pieces” for it. Here, he shares with Alexa his picks for on-the-rise names to be on the lookout for.

Link to full article here: