The spectator is invited to engage in a voyeuristic journey, hovering above the
personal domain of the artist. A shift of visual perception leads to a feeling of
displacement – the voyeur is in a compromising position of superiority, whilst
the observed is seen in a lower level, thus a netherworld.
As wordplay, netherworld also indicates a condition of circumstance:
an underworld, an undercurrent, somewhere ominous. The vantage point
holds relevance with the spiritual world – the notion that we are always being
watched by an invisible presence. Furthermore the subject explores the sense
of isolation, the interior stripped to basic two-dimensional design coinciding
with the figure’s semi-nudity. The works are executed in a clear sense of
realism with regard to pictorial space, although the strong two-dimensional
Arabic design contradicts the three dimensional figurative aspects.
This body of work has been derived from two very strong influences in the
artist’s recent life: a five month residency in Northern India where Mogul
architecture and the excessive use of colour had a direct impact on the
stylistic approach on these works. The second is a tribute to close personal
losses, which the artist experienced, in the past year.
On a global level we are now at a stage where the painter has become
culturally obsolete - which is not necessarily a bad thing. It means that we are
being challenged to explore new ways of amending and revising this medium,
be it on a technical or conceptual level.
Sanell studied BA FA at Stellenbosch University and currently lectures at the Cape College in Graphic Processes and Drawing.
Exhibitions (Group shows)
2001: Micro/Macro, South African Printmakers at the Xchanges Gallery,
Victoria, British Columbia (Canada)
2001: ABSA Atelier, National Finals, Johannesburg.
2001: Aarsel/ Waver, KKNK, Oudshoorn
2000: Absolut Secret, AVA Metropolitan Gallery, Cape Town.
2000: Blaze Exhibition, Bang The Gallery, Cape Town
2000: Winner in the New Signatures Exhibition, Bellville Art Centre
1998: Short listed for the 15th Royal Overseas League Annual Open
1998: An Imitator, AVA Metropolitan Gallery, Cape Town
2000: Northern Ladies, Art Konsult, New Delhi, India
1999-2000 : Selected for the UNESCO-Aschberg Residency programme at
the Sanskriti Kendra, New Delhi, India