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"Stained Paper: South African images in watercolour"
2000-04-18 until 2000-06-10
Standard Bank Gallery
Johannesburg, , ZA South Africa

The Standard Bank Gallery celebrates the new millennium with some significant exhibitions. Stained Paper: South African Images in Watercolour follows closely on the heels of 'Emergence', an exhibition that reflected on the past 25 years of art-making in this country. Stained Paper presents an historical overview of South African water-based works, curated by Keith Dietrich and Karin Skawran. The exhibition, which includes works from national galleries, museums, libraries and archives, will be shown from 18 April to 10 June 2000.

Stained Paper is perhaps the most comprehensive exhibition of its kind in South Africa in that it includes some of the earliest images made of this land and its peoples. Such images date back to the first decades of the 18th century and were executed by visitors to the Cape of Good Hope - many of them amateur artists - amongst them missionaries, botanists, zoologists, geologists and ethnographers. Images from a variety of genres have been selected, giving some idea of everyday life during the period of the colonial conquest, of plant and animal life at the time, the geology of the land, its inhabitants and their material culture. The work of European artists such as Bowler, Baines, Bell, Angas, I'Ons, Burchell, Daniell, Le Vaillant and Hermann will be on exhibition.

Although the majority of works found in local collections were painted by European artists, the curators made every effort to locate early images by black artists whose work had for a long time been marginalised. Interesting works by Simoni Mnguni, Gerard Benghu and George Pemba have been located for the exhibition. Several of them have as yet never been seen by the public.

Emphasis has also been given to works by contemporary artists. Most artists have, at one time or another, and with a greater or lesser degree of success, made use of watercolour or other water-based media such as gouache. The curators have attempted to obtain works which are representative not only of different genres, such as still life and landscape painting, conceptual and figurative art, but also of different techniques and approaches. Stained Paper is as much an historical overview of water-based work in this country, as it is an attempt to demonstrate how the traditional definition of watercolour has been extended over the years and how works in this medium have now become a significant part of mainstream art.

Stained Paper is the key exhibition in a series of shows in Gauteng focusing on the medium of watercolour. The so-called Standard Bank Watercolour Festival will take place under the auspices of the Watercolour Society of South Africa, to celebrate the revival of the medium. The Festival includes lectures, demonstrations, walkabouts and exhibitions at various other well-known galleries, studios and institutions throughout the year.

- artslink


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