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ARTLife THE SOUTH AFRICAN

February 2010 For the full online edition go to: www.artlife.co.za SUBSCRIBE: 1 year’s subscription to your door: R 360 - Incl. SA Art Times and Business Art. E-mail: subs@arttimes.co.za

Where Art and Life meet

Mollie Townsend in her studio, Fish Hoek, Cape Town

Mollie Townsend captures the light

Published monthly by Global Art Information PO Box 15881 Vlaeberg, 8018 Tel. 021 424 7733 Fax. 021 424 7732

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ARTLIFE - Where Art and Life Meet

Mollie Townsend in her studio, Fish Hoek

Photo: David Robinson

Mollie Townsend: Fish Hoek’s Leading Light By Veronica Wilkinson The interior of Mollie Townsend’s home speaks volumes about her varied interests where natural surfaces lend warmth to the surroundings. Her work hangs on the walls and a scrapbook containing a chronological record of her professionally active career is thoughtfully presented for inspection. Here are reviews and invitations from past exhibitions, including the first in Redhouse in 1949. Born in Smithfield, Orange Free State in 1921, she attended the Wynberg Girls High School and in her Matric year (1939) had art lessons after school from Florence Zerffi in her studio. WW2 made art study overseas impos-

sible so Mollie joined the S.A Nursing Service as a voluntary Red Cross nurse. She married during the War and with the cessation of hostilities (1945) and the return of her husband in the South African Army from overseas, settled in Cape Town. Her husband’s civil engineering work took them to Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and then to Bechuanaland Protectorate (now Botswana). By 1960 they had six children. Mollie had many requests to teach art and was invited to design the country’s stamps for 1965 and 1968 (Stanley Gibbons 186-189 and 249-252) She also wrote a biography about her great-grandfather: “James Stewart, Royal Scottish Academician” (1968) printed

by the Botswana Government Printer.

nationale Culturelle Feminin in Ancona, Italy, for an etching.

On their return to South Africa in 1971 she attended the Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT, as a mature student and obtained a B.A (Fine Art) degree in 1975 majoring in sculpture. She considers herself fortunate in having had Neville Dubow as Professor of Art for his encouragement and vision. Since then she has exhibited in solo and group shows in S.A. and Europe. She visited Europe working at the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere, Paris, and made graphics during a stay at the Cite International des Arts, Paris. In 1980 she was awarded a medal by the Federation Inter-

In 2005 her book ‘Light in False Bay” was launched with an exhibition of the paintings at the Irma Stern Museum. In this artist’s book she explores the False Bay coastal region, painting and researching some elements of its history. She generously shares her documented plein air work process while quotations from great artists and authors acquaint readers with her knowledge. The personal notes and sketches give us insight into her personality even documenting incidents like a disrupted painting session at Miller’s Point when a roving troop of baboons drove her to shelter

View of St. James from Boyes Drive, Oil on canvas

in her car until they moved on. An ever enquiring mind and an acute eye for colour distinguish this artist’s impressionist oeuvre. Her studio is spacious and neat with wall space converted to support canvases so that she can paint directly onto their surfaces without the clutter of another easel. During the early 1970s to early eighties she completed a lot of work alongside artists like Sue Williamson at the Graphic Workshop in Claremont. Williamson’s recollection of Mollie’s work is of “strong images, she always had energetic and interesting ideas, narrative played an important part in her work and she often dealt with local cultural subjects in

ingenuous ways.” Mollie Townsend is an artist who regards light as the artist’s tool. The direct manner she employs in her work is a refreshing reflection of her straightforward grasp of a visual language that surpasses barriers in an analytic and sensuous fluidity. I find that the work teases the intellect on some levels with lyrical qualities that hint at her love of music, another realm of emotional resonance common to human experience. In this field too, her discipline is evident as a pianist where little can be accomplished without diligent effort and perseverance. To quote Peter Clarke, hers is art both delightful and surprising.

Fish Hoek beach and Hottentots Holland, Oil on canvas


ARTLIFE - Where Art and Life Meet

Sunrise over False Bay, Oil on canvas Buffels Bay with Hangklip on horizon, Oil on canvas

Daylight over False Bay, Oil on canvas

Jagged Rocks, Pringle Bay and Cape Point, Oil on canvas

Naval Cemetery at Seaforth, Simon’s Town, Oil on canvas Noordhoek with cows, Oil on canvas

For more images and information about Mollie Townsend see her book: Light in False Bay. For orders call 021 7822084

ISBN- 0-620-33860-1


ARTLIFE - Where Art and Life Meet

What Moulds our Perspective

Letter to the Editor

Questioning our Legacy

The Wreath

South Africans do well at Florence Biennial Art Exhibition Second prize at Florence Biennial Art Exhibition

like the farm girl who had arrived in the city for the first time!

At 47, I have just received international recognition for my art! I have no words to explain how exciting this is. I am also so proud to have represented South Africa in Italy, in December, where I exhibited three of my sculptures on the Florence Biennale. The show hosted over 2000 works of art, with 650 artists representing 78 countries present. An international panel of thirteen assigns recognitions and awards to the invited artists and I was awarded 2nd place in the sculpture category.

The Biennale took place at the Fortezza da Basso in Florence, Italy from 7 to 13 December 2009. This international event is organised under the patronage of the President of the Italian Republic with the official endorsement of the Ministry of Culture. The exhibition is recognised by the United Nations as being part of their ‘Dialogue between Civilisations’ program and its aim is to promote art as a universal language. Meeting the artists and seeing the work on display was memorable. Of note is the fact that of the 5 South African artists who took part, 3 of us got awards, (the other two were 4 places). They were Natasha De Wet (work on paper)and Talita Swarts (installation). You can find them both on www.artcoza.co.za

I literally dragged the work to Florence, as I could not afford the courier charges. With a backpack on my back, one on my front and 3 large works to carry (they measure 1m in diameter and are about 40 cm wide, without packaging) I was close to tears many times. The load could not fit in a taxi, and so I had to catch trains and walk to the venue, eventually dragging the work behind me. Bearing in mind one delight of Florence is the fact that the streets are all cobbled this was a mission of note. I felt

Sharle Matthews

Out and about: Baardskeerdersbos Art Route January 2010

B’bos artist in residence for January 2010: Claire Menck

Local traffic jam en route

Work by Claire Menck

Lands End III by Niel Jonker


ARTLIFE - Where Art and Life Meet

Alex Hamilton - KNYSNA FINE ART

The Collected Celecbrity opens on 19 February 2010 at KNYSNA FINE ART 044 382 5107 gallery@finearts.co.za View the exhibition at www.finearts.co.za

Ilse Kleyn is intrigued with the single form; human, animal or still life. She strives to capture the character and

mood of the subject. The orchestrated structure and form of each artwork provides a perspective of a rarified atmosphere and dramatic appeal. Contact: www.artofkleyn.co.za. / info@artofkleyn.co.za / 0845042814 / 0219814630

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Gregory Kerr - KNYSNA FINE ART

Outback & Heretic - Pastel over Monotype. The Aides Memoires opens on 19 February 2010 at KNYSNA FINE ART - 044 382 5107; gallery@finearts.co.za View the exhibition at www.finearts.co.za


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Sam Nhlengethwa: Tribute to William Kentridge, 2008, Lithograph, 57 x 76.5 cm, R 6 500

Sam Nhlengethwa: Tribute to Marlene Dumas, 2008, Lithograph, 57 x 76.5 cm, R 6 500

Sam Nhlengethwa: Tribute to Peter Clarke, 2008, Lithograph 57 x 76.5 cm, R 6 500

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Sam Nhlengethwa: Tribute to Dumile Feni, 2008, Lithograph, 57 x 76.5 cm, R 6 500

Sam Nhlengethwa: Tribute to Judith Mason, 2008, Lithograph 57 x 76.5 cm, R 6 500

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The South African

Art Information Directory 2010

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The most complete listing of South African art resources, infrastructure, financial and promotional opportunities for visual artists.

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The South African Art Information Directory 2010 The most complete listing of South African art resources, infrastruture, financial and promotional opportunities for visual artists To purchase your copy go to: www.artdirect.co.za | Tel 021 424 7733 | E-mail: subs@arttimes.co.za PROMOTIONAL SPECIAL: By before 28 February 2010 and get the Art Directory 2010 for just R 189,00 (Includes postage and packaging)

SAAL FEB 2010  

Where Art and Life meet THE SOUTH AFRICAN Mollie Townsend in her studio, Fish Hoek, Cape Town Photo: David Robinson Published monthly by Glo...

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