Betwixt & Between - Free State Art Collective at Gallery 2

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BETWIXT & BETWEEN Liminal Responses by the Free State Art Collective We live in a constant state of ‘betweenness’, as if existing on the threshold of something new. A movement, a progression, a transfer towards a discourse in diverse reflection - transdisciplinary, transcultural, transgender are words starting to dominate the analytical landscape. Modes of thinking are being re-networked into a myriad of ways. An inescapable need is revealing itself: for humans to come together, to collaborate and ask the question, What is our collective future in response to a pending ecological disaster, a dominant political culture of lies and a rapidly globalising economy? It is the artist’s desire to enter that place of ‘betweenness’; betwixt the confines of rule, law, custom, obligation and expectation. That which the anthropologist, Victor Turner, calls the ‘liminal’, i.e. the ambiguous threshold which is neither here nor there, is betwixt and between. This locale is where the artist can re-imagine, re-interpret, re-vision social norms. The liminal realm is where transformation takes place. Richard Rohr describes this space as: ... where we are betwixt and between the familiar and the completely unknown. There alone is our old world left behind, while we are not yet sure of the new existence. That’s a good space where genuine newness can begin … This is the sacred space where the old world is able to fall apart, and a bigger world is revealed. If we don’t encounter liminal space in our lives, we start idealizing normalcy ... The people of the Free State live in the heart of South Africa, in a little known and disclosed part of the country. With hardly a nod of recognition, most travellers pass Bloemfontein and other smaller towns and villages en route to the more popular coastal regions. The region is hidden, misunderstood, betwixt and between. Despite this, there exists a timelessness about the landscape and its people are constantly confronted with the infinity of the ever present horizon. The genius locus of central South Africa holds a mystery and mystique; which the artists feel compelled to respond to in their art making. Betwixt and Between can be used as a metaphor of this in-between state, the transitory and liminal realm where silence is expressive. It builds tension, can speak of wonders, often breaking through the disruptive expanse with its own serene presence. It is in this threshold and liminal domain that the new can form and be made visible. Be hole, be dust, be dream, be wind Be night, be dark, be wish, be mind, Now slip, now slide, now move unseen, Above, beneath, betwixt, between. Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

AdĂŠle Opperman,Hipotetiese Poging (Hypothetical Attempt), Ball point pen on Fabriano, 97 x 63 cm, 2019

This artwork deals with the trauma caused by narcissistic abuse. Reflecting on personal trauma and circumstances, the artwork becomes a pathway for healing. Concentrating on personal memories, the thorns become an indication of physical and emotional suffering. Paradoxically, the thorns can also resemble protection, a shield around personal experiences or memories. By revisiting a past experience one could visualize images in the mind and through the work of art, memories and reality can be reconstructed, expressed and processed.

Daniëlle Pretorius, Burning Desire, Oil on canvas, 50 cm Diameter

Daniëlle Pretorius, ‘Rustling Flora of Life’ Erik Pevernagie, Oil on canvas, 50 cm Diameter

For the past year I have been painting evocative and lush flowers, attempting to paint them as realistically and convincingly as possible. Since these flowers have been cut from a plant, they are especially transient, caught between life and death. The majority of flowers I paint are in the height of bloom (in some paintings the subject is an already wilting, decaying flower), thus they are caught in this state between life and death (betwixt and between). It is not my intention to explore vanitas themes with these works, rather that these flowers almost serve as a diary, a reflection of my own experiences. These paintings reflect a personal stage in my life of “flowering”. I recently got married and these flowers explore the excitement and eroticism which accompanies this stage. They also serve as a celebration of overcoming self-doubt and realising the potential of being a “budding” young artist. Therefore, these paintings reflect the current stage of my life, betwixt and between the stages which preceded this moment, and the stages still to follow.

Daniëlle Pretorius, Deflora, Oil on canvas, 30 cm

Daniëlle Pretorius, Oil on canvas, 60 cm Diameter

AndrĂŠ Rose, Burn, Digital print on cold press paper, Artist Proof, 102 x 141.5 cm, 2018 Fires rage. South Africa has recently been plagued by physical fires that shadow the figurative burning of our society. The flames encroach on the viewer. The flames threaten the veld and the city. In the background the city shimmers in the heat of the fire. We are left wondering why the fire was started, who the arsonist was and what started the fire. Incendiary rhetoric currently peppers the South African political landscape - verbosity that only fuels the fires that impinge on our society's well-being. We are assaulted with the clanging of politicians punting their ideologies. Sentiment divides rather than builds our society and we emphasise differences rather that the commonality underpinning our humanity. Fire destroys indiscriminately and threatens everything in its path. While the fire rages, will we gaze upon it and play the fiddle?

Teboho Mokhothu, Graduation Gown, Deconstructed Rubber, 65W x 170H x 20L, 2019 This artwork has been inspired by the‘liberation of mind’ concept unfolding in my art making; where slavery is used as a metaphor for the South African education system. This concept focuses on the history of education since early Colonialism in 1652 and explains how the education system shapes students to behave in a certain way. The ‘Graduation Gown’ symbolises intelligence and the assumed superiority of the academic. This clothing is mainly used in tertiary education by those who obtain a status that entitles them, through diplomas and degrees. In contrast however, the artwork is made from rubber and tyre, a material that pollutes the environment. Accompanied by an orange belt, it represents the Faculty. The graduation gown artwork can be recognized as protest art for the academic system in South Africa.

Cecilia Maartens, Intensities #1 Inscrutable persistence, Acrylics on Fabriano paper, 50 x 50 cm, 2017

Cecilia Maartens, Intensities #2 Ruffled Serenity, Acrylics on Fabriano paper, 50 x 50 cm, 2017

Cecilia Maartens, Escaping the Labyrinth II, Oil on canvas, 30 110 cm, 2018

Our being on this earth, intuitively responding to a sensorium charged with impressions, the continuous passing of time and the irrevocability of the past, raise a pressing awareness of the potential creative impact of one’s past experiences on current perceptions of life. Such experience is spontaneously associated with the development and establishment of individual mental states, exemplified by emotions and thoughts, and the re-configuration of childhood memories. In my artmaking, the critical reflection on childhood memories unfolds in a labyrinthine journey of complexity and fluctuating emotions, a voyage of creativity and new beginnings. The actualisation of the past in the present as something new, implies inner movement, change and invention, which is realised as a spiritual becoming – a result of the evolution of time, as conceptualised by Henri Bergson. The rhizome, due to its peculiar mode of growing, becomes a core metaphor to express the spontaneous aleatoric connection between memories, thoughts, feelings, and experience in my art.

Elrie Joubert, Free State Fix, 1000 found objects in clear gelatine capsules, displayed on laser cut plexiglass, 124 x 46 x 80 cm, 2019

This installation consists of a thousand miniature found objects collected, labelled with a number; corresponding with a date and location using @what3words. What3words is a geocoding system that encodes geographic coordinates into three dictionary words - for example, Bloemfontein City Hall is located at The encoding is permanently fixed and used to communicate specific locations. Each collected object is preserved in a size 0, clear gelatine capsule and individually displayed on a specifically designed laser cut plexiglass. Inspired by different objects found in our urban environment in contrast to the well-known rural Free State landscape, each object represents a memory and moment in time. I this artwork I explore themes during the creation of the time capsules, reviewing our idea of landscape art, and more obviously, reflecting on how addictive the collecting process is to me.

Janine Allen, Puppet Masters, Faber Castel Drawing Pencils and pastels on Arches, 72 x 100 cm, 2019 South Africa is currently battling to fathom the extent of state capture, meaning the gradual capturing of state and public assets by private companies or other stakeholders through political influence. In a series of drawings, I am exploring some historic state capture projects, by referencing the Kimberley Hole, one of the deepest open mining pits dug by hand. By drawing in colour and abstracting, I am re-appropriating black and white photographs of the diamond mine. In this work I have drawn with two colour; cadmium (orange, reds and yellows) and caput mortuum (light brown and violet-brown). In studying the history of the original pigments connected to the names of these colours, one realises that the cadmium in the original form was extremely toxic, while caput mortuum means "useless substance", "dead head" and "the ultimate culmination of decay'. In a similar sense, the English word "caput" which has a different root, but means destroyed, also references ruination. By doing this, I make a correlation between historic and contemporary captured projects by commenting on how toxic systems and the accompanying human greed negatively affect human life- worlds and environments


Pauline Gutter, Combustion, charcoal on BFK Reeves, 107 x 160 cm

The work entitled ‘Combustion’ is an energy field of bulls, a hierarchical playground. After returning from their separate herds; the reposition and fight for their pecking order. Smell the adrenaline, testosterone and dust on their skin.

Lana Combrinck, Let us all live together in harmonic dissonance, Oils and lino on wood, 59 cm diameter, 2019

Leon Witthuhn, Fasces, Concrete on wood base, 70L x 25W x 38H cm, Edition 1 of 3, 2019

This work explores the possibility of conflicting meanings in symbols through the course of their history. The three symbolic concepts which the work references is that of the Roman 'fasces', Mussolini's fascism and ‘strength in unity’. These symbolic concepts interconnect with each other through misconception, invented traditions and assumptions. The Roman 'fasces' was the symbol of state power, which later became a symbol for collective power during the French revolution. In Italy, Mussolini used it as a symbol of unity, force and justice. Furthermore, Aesop's tale of a bundle of sticks that represents ‘strength in unity’ is an addition to the 'fasces' by affinity. The work attempts to reference, as well as distort the different meanings of an axe and sticks. The axe references, amongst others, violence or an agricultural implement, while the sticks may reference ‘strength in unity’ or an instrument of punishment.

Lesego Motsiri, Un_ 19 – Visible Spectrum_Season_19, Alubond archival print, 50 x 50 cm, Edition 1 of 10, 2019

Art works titled Un, meaning one in French, are a series about unity. Photos of landscapes as the artist’s key subject matter are taken, then distorted in an attempt to move away from the traditional frame, and to introduce a different perspective of his surroundings in time & space. The artworks are embedded with a simplified understanding of sacred geometry in order to communicate ideas of how “all things are intertwined" within our universe; to educate the general viewer about esoteric knowledge and to make the viewer conscious of the powers found in shapes and patterns. The artworks are made as documentation of his personal experiences of the spaces he finds himself in and to broaden the creative mind of the viewer.

Louis KrĂźger, An Encounter, Digital photo montage on coldpress paper, 68 x 110 cm, Edition of 5, 2019

Society has the tendency to ascribe an abundance of meaning to the landscape. I explore the impact and connection we feel towards it by moving through and experiencing it. In An Encounter one is confronted with a scene of movement vibrating throughout the landscape and a peculiar bush which seems to act as the source of the energy pulsating in the work. Questions of the hidden spiritual potential of the landscape comes to the fore and our connectedness towards it. In the midst of debates regarding land, are we ignoring the force that will outlive us all? With this in mind, it is unclear whether the encounter we as viewers experience in this artwork is of a welcoming or threatening nature.

The manner through which a deceased’s presence or representation can be experienced has been through ritual, observed practice and tradition. The usual conduits at our disposal are no longer used as such. Previously venerated and sacred objects such as the ashes of the deceased are objects which now are either scattered, placed away from site, in a niche or become part of the furniture in personal homes. In the digital drawing a small ornate box containing my brother’s ashes can be seen, partially stuffed into a paper envelope. This draws from a personal experience of receiving said ashes from the crematorium. I did not accompany my father inside the crematorium, I waited in the car. My father returned with the small ornate miniature coffin within which lay my brother’s ashes. This palm sized coffin was stuffed inside a large envelope with my father’s name hastily written on it. The envelope was merely placed on my lap and my father proceeded in driving us home. This experience, to me, felt like a business transaction taking place, which it was. Goods were exchanged and a service rendered. But what effect does this have on the object that is the ashes? To my father this may have seemed normal, believing that the ashes are no more than a representation of what my brother was. In the work, floating above the envelope is a line sketch of the cemeteries surrounding Jerusalem in Israel. The seemingly insignificant ashes are enclosed by a space of final rest which is extremely sacred to certain individuals. This imposing ‘cloud’ of line seeks to include and impose its venerated space onto the disassembling ashes. Beneath the envelope there is a protruding pool of yellow. This could be blood and the reminder of the arid Namibian landscape. Inside the yellow pool there are pictogram cut outs of cell phones. The cell phone has replaced the ashes as object to turn to as a reminder of the deceased. The device has contained within it the potential to see and remember the deceased, rather than the physical remains of the deceased. The conduit used to experience the deceased has changed. It is once farther removed from the body of the deceased. Lyrene Kühn-Botma, Conduit, digital drawing on cold press paper, 50 x 80 cm, Edition 1 of 7, 2019

Martie Bitzer, Feathered but flightless II, Digital Drawing on Dibond, 84 x 62 cm, Edition 1 of 5, 2019

My art is an expression of inner states - a process of becoming, a reflection, a reverie, an impulse, a state of awareness. In Feathered but Flightless ii the possibility of change combined with the celebration of being, evolves into its own quiet space. The viewer is invited to interact freely; where dreaming, yearning or the act of mourning can be present in equal measure.

Micaela Gabriela Bailie, Blossoming, Coloured pencils and embossing on Fabriano, 75 x 50 cm, 2018 The artwork is based on the metaphor "to blossom" which means "to mature or develop". The metaphor has been used for centuries in order to refer to a girl who has come of age or has reached puberty. The aim with the artwork was to bring to light how floral metaphors have been used to describe women and femininity throughout the ages. Since, flowers have similar anatomical attributes as women e.g., ovaries. The floral metaphors describing women were mainly used as a means to portray women as fragile and ornamental. This work seeks to reconfigure the metaphors in a more feministic way by embracing the female body and creating new ideals of femininity.

Mothobi Mefane, Bergmann Square, acrylic on canvas, 97 x 120 cm, 2018

We constantly find ourselves in a space where we have to choose from taking one direction or the other in life. Indecisiveness is not our choice. Where we find ourselves standing at a threshold and facing the new realities. The future. This challenges us to take a stand. To decide how we understand the past, live in the present, and make sense of the future. How we embrace or reject the status quo. Without this space or realm in life, the ' Between and Betwixt,' existence would be static, and excitement and exhilaration without a source. We just have to continue making choices. Others we will regret, while others we will rejoice over. This is essentially the luxury of a liberated soul.

Petra Schutte, Sacred Obsessions, Pigment ink, pencil, gauche on Fabriano, 41 x 56 cm, 2019

Sacred Obsessions is a drawing that is deliberately boxed in. Various ‘geometric-like’ shapes and lines have been used to obtain structure and routine throughout the drawing, contrasting to the textural drawing marks used. A continuous movement is seen throughout the drawing where the artist hand shifted from one position of the page to another. An urgency is seen throughout the drawing through the constant overlapping where depth is achieved but also a continuous obsession in one area being constantly drawn on. The perimeter of the drawing indicates a no-entry to the rest of the paper. There is an urgency through the obsessive mark making to escape the boundary of the box but the jump to override the box is limited. The artwork forces the viewer to place their focus on the drawing itself and not the rest of the artwork therefore limiting what they are viewing.

Sphatho Mzantsi, Ekhaya (Home), Pitt Charcoal on Fabriano, 80 x 34 cm, 2019

‘Ekhaya’ is a work that discusses childhood memories, a stage of the artist’s life where the whole world was that one place. How place has an influence on the persona, with regards to nostalgia, remembering and memories being layered on top of each other to create an idea or identity for the space.

Zanoxolo Sylvester Mqeku, Stone Flower, Rutile dioxide, matte speckled pink, copper green glaze on sand cast stained earthen ware clay, ceramic, 2019 Primeval desire to harness water, fire, earth, air and immerse our very souls in them, led many of us to the ancient art of Ceramics, when the soul guides the hands to bring the formless to form and the lifeless to life, then the artist has touched the divine. My work is an experiment with negative and positive imprints, clay is used to capture forms, marks and imprints made in sand. Sand casting as a ceramic studio process, represents the reinvention of traditional “Craft� techniques in a context when artistic practice needs to raise awareness for innovative methods that make use of 100% recyclable material. Much like playing at the beach, sand as a natural material lends itself to expression, connecting the maker’ s body to the earth, its textures, riches, colours, sounds, smells and temperatures. Liquid clay serves as a recording tool, a material which captures negative imprints in the sand and turns them into positive forms, the resulting work activates the dialogue of nature conservation amidst the effects of climate change. The exterior surfaces are coarse and entirely defined by the texture of sand, any mark or imprint that was made is now tangible and seemingly aged or weathered. The resulting vessels and sculptural forms often resemble objects dug up from another planet, weakened life forms that appear fossilized or frozen in some post-biotic condition. Ceramic art is usually formed by thermal stress under high temperatures, the interior and external surfaces of the two works ( Stone flower and Mortal coiling) become visual warnings and emblems of what nature is possible with future climates; conjuring images of toxic waste and poisoned waters (Translucent Green glaze), also drought and life slowly falling to extinction.

Wessel van Huyssteen, Entangled, Watercolour on paper, 56 x 151 cm, 2018 Entanglement refers to the complex relationship between resource extraction, advancing technology and the impact it has on the natural environment and inevitably on all humans. The resources I refer to are cadmium and Cobalt. (As an added fact - resource extraction is responsible for half the world’s carbon emissions.) Hence Entangled; Carbon, Cadmium and Cobalt I wanted to create a simple image that soothes and clashes. Although the two complimentary colours are fighting each other they are integral to the development of new technology. Cobalt and Cadmium form the basic elements of Lithium Ion and nickel-cadmium batteries, which in turn powers the cell phone the laptop, the electric car and solar power installations to name a few. They are the metals of the future, but maybe also the cause our demise. They are becoming the most expensive metals in the world and are mined in deplorable conditions; often by minors and artisanal miners. 70% of Cobalt and Cadmium deposits are found in the Congo and are bought up by Chinese citizens who are trading with little to no regulation. Abuses of people and environment is rife. They are also colours loved by artists and Western art would have looked very different was it not for these two beautiful, but toxic colours. The image consists of a close up of a dead pine tree, painted in Cobalt (Cobalt Blue deep and Cobalt Turquoise) and in the negative. The image is largely out of focus to create a dreamy, but hopefully slightly uncomfortable ‘background’. On top of this I superimposed an algorithm painted in Cadmium. Superimposed is however not something you can do with watercolour, so although they look separate and above the ‘background, they are very much embedded in the blue. This algorithmic pattern suggests spacial movement. The round and oval shape of this algorithm is a continued reference to the woodworm and the white ant that erodes without it being visible from the exterior. This reference is not explicit in this work, but since I have used it in previous work of mine I am hoping that the citation will carry through. If it does not it is not the end of the world as it performs other functions in this work that gives it context. Entangled also refers to the complex web of information that needs to be considered from political, to environmental, to painterly when viewing a painting and the colours used in this specific case.

Xhobani Matshaya, Vlad-P, Digital Drawing, 30 x 42 cm, Edition 1 of 5, 2019

Xhobani Matshaya, Gadda, Digital Drawing, 30 x 42 cm, Edition 1 of 5, 2019

Xhobani Matshaya, Lil Kim Jo, Digital Drawing, 30 x 42 cm, Edition 1 of 5, 2019

Xhobani Matshaya, Mo-G, Digital Drawing, 30 x 42 cm, Edition 1 of 5, 2019

Xhobani Matshaya, Donny-T, Digital Drawing, 30 x 42 cm, Edition 1 of 5, 2019

Zizicelo Sifumba, Vocabulary Prison, Oil on Canvas, 120 x 150 cm, 2014 Vocabulary Prison explores personal investigations, on how humans get manipulated by the media. In the artwork, two figures are shut in the dull cell: one hiding behind a newspaper and the other one not facing the viewers, but focused on his newspaper. The newspaper almost becomes their identity. The prison situation reveals the consequences of social pressure and anxiety that is caused by the media thus preventing us from experiencing any beauty in the spaces around us. The artwork depicts society living under addictive and oppressive environments of constant alert and non-verbal communication; a society captured within the dimensions of social media. Social media practically invades our lives as we become a repetition of what we engage in. We become victims of the media, unaware that we are slipping into a prison of perception.

Free State Art Collective The Free State Art Collective’s main purpose is to develop and sustain the careers of all the artists who belong as members and to raise awareness of talent in the Free State, thereby developing a more visible national presence. The Collective also aims to mentor emerging artists and to provide a network of information and opportunity. Workshops will be offered by professionals, providing further skills and conceptual development training; with the intention of keeping Free State artists connected to national trends and new innovations in art production and practice. Like a gallery, the Free State Art Collective has a growing stable of artists whose work will be promoted and sold via the brand. But unlike a gallery, there is no tie to a specific exhibition space. Instead, the collective is mobile, working through the unique curation of events and via exposure nationally at established art shows and fairs. FSAC currently has 34 members.

Adéle Opperman André Rose Anton Roodt Belinda van Zwijndrecht Bontle Tau Cecilia Maartens Daniëlle Pretorius Dot Vermeulen Elrie Joubert Jaco Spies Janine Allen Jano Myburgh

Johandi du Plessis Johan Slabbert Kara Schoeman Lana Combrinck Leon Witthuhn Lesego Motsiri Louis Krüger Lyrene Kühn-Botma Mandie Immelman Martie Bitzer Micaela Gabriela Balie Mothobi Mefane

Nkululeko Nkebe Nyasha Chikiwa Pauline Gutter Petra Schutte Sphatho Mzantsi Teboho Mokhothu Wessel van Huyssteen Xhobani Matshaya Zanoxolo Sylvester Mqeku Zizicelo Sifumba