The joint solo exhibition of David Griessel, Talita Steyn and Gregg Price will open on the 6 November at Art@Africa gallery to celebrate these young artists emergence.
For David Griessel this exhibition is a visual presentation of a lifelong obsession with trees. Ever since Griessel was little he has been captivated by the labyrinthine constellations of tree canopies around him. This fascination has never led to a truly scientific study of trees and plant life, but rather an aesthetic and almost spiritual appreciation. Therefore, as an artists and especially an artist who works within the realm of the fantastical, he has taken imaginary liberties with his depiction of the natural world. Many of species of fynbos and trees showed in this exhibition really exist (you can see some in Kirstenbosch and others in The Karoo) but he has blurred the lines between humanity, spirituality and the secret life of trees.
Forests and plant life have always held an important place in humanity’s psyche, and this can be seen in the way arboreal themes are featured in religions and myths dating back to archaic civilizations. Many cultures (especially early ‘pagan’ religions) included tree inspired motifs and symbols in their liturgical practices and texts. The figure of the earth mother, Gaia is also a recurring figure in legends, myths and religions and worship of this deity pre-dates the great monotheisms. Contemporary fascination with trees and nature is also prominently manifested in Jungian psychoanalytic practice, where holistic well-being is often allegorized in a tree diagram. These examples are mere pinpricks in the rich history of tree-culture and our exhibition tap into this rich past which can act as a source of limitless creative inspiration. A recurring theme in Griessel’s body of work for this exhibition is ‘tree portals’ that act as a gateway into a rich alternate Dreamscape that he hopes viewers will get lost in.
Talita Steyn makes art as a way to express things that are hard to put into words that she often feels shouldn’t be put into words. Her inspiration usually comes from moments or thoughts that fill her with an immediate sense of beauty and nostalgia, and the need to try and capture something of that experience in a visual form, the same way we try to hold onto a dream to tell someone as quickly as possible, while we feel it evaporating into a lost memory. This often leads to a serious case of being lost in translation, but the need to try is ever present when inspiration strikes. Steyn’s art has never dealt with big issues like politics or human rights, but rather comes from a place she still struggles to understand herself, dealing more with what it’s like to have a human experience of life and the things in it that puzzles, mystifies and awes her. Her art usually takes a figurative form and up until recently her medium of choice has been oil painting. Sculpture is a new medium for her and one she would like to explore further.
Gregg Price has selected a quotation below as introduction to his art method making by one of his inspirational thinkers, Carl Jung, in conjunction to the upcoming Arbor Oneirica exhibition;
“Trees in particular were mysterious and seemed to me direct embodiments of the incomprehensible meaning of life. For that reason, the woods were the place where I felt closest to its deepest meaning and to its awe-inspiring workings” ~ Carl Jung
Gregg Price draws for himself and by this he means to say that drawing is the membrane that connects him to his unconscious. It allows his dream world to speak softly of simple and forgotten things. It is his quest to find a line or image that is authentic. He demands that this process should surprise him, deepening a connection to his roots, his culture, and his landscapes. Price feels this process should redefine his identity. Similarly, and metaphorically as a branch of a tree adjusts its growth towards the light. For Gregg Price his process “is a process that must reject conformity, allow for false or dead ends. The quest may or may not have a resolution. It’s a walk in the deep, dark woods, incomprehensible but human all the same”. All his imagery reveals great emotional depth, mental wisdom and soulful bravery which are composed of lines having gone on a very personal journey.
Art@Clocktower gallery looks forward to introducing you to David Griessel and Talita Steyn and their world of narrating their personal journeys of worlds known yet mysterious.
A venue at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. Art@Africa creates meaningful art experiences, curated by internationally acclaimed curators that trigger powerful emotions. The gallery and sculpture estate also provide a platform on which South African talent can be recognized on an international level, which is sure to create great investment opportunities for local art. Art@Africa gallery celebrates the diversity of South African art in a unique setting at the world-renowned V&A Waterfront, at 120 meters from the Zeitz Museum.