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Indepth Arts News:

"Three Exhibitions: Anton Karstel, JP Meyer, Stefan Carstens"
2003-11-10 until 2003-11-29
Association for Visual Arts
Cape Town, , ZA South Africa

The Association For Visual Arts (AVA) in partnership with Hollard, 35 Church Street, Cape Town, is hosting three new exhibitions. In the Main Gallery ANTON KARSTEL will be exhibiting his most recent paintings in an exhibition entitled TRAIL-BLAZE. In the Long Gallery J P MEYER will also show an exhibition of new paintings, entitled REFLECTION, while upstairs in the Artsstrip STEFAN CARSTENS will exhibit his most recent sculptures in a show entitled FALSE PROFIT. All three exhibitions open at 6 pm on Monday, 10 November and run until noon on Saturday, 29 November 2003.

ANTON KARSTEL, born 1968 in Pretoria, holds BA Fine Art (1990) and M A Fine Art (1995) degrees from the University of Pretoria. He began exhibiting on group shows in 1993 in an exhibition entitled REAL ART at the ICA in Johannesburg. This was followed by participation in LAAGER on the fringe of the first Johannesburg Biennale in Newtown, by an exhibition entitled BROWN AND GREEN at the Pretoria Art Museum and by SPRINGTIME IN CHILE at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Santiago, Chile, all in 1995. 1996 saw exhibitions at the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol, UK and at the Newtown Galleries in Johannesburg. In 1997 he was invited to participate in GRAFT at the second Johannesburg Biennale at the SA National Gallery in Cape Town, while in 2002 he participated in ONCE WERE PAINTERS at the KKNK in Oudtshoorn.

Solo exhibitions include TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT at the Rembrandt van Rijn Gallery in Johannesburg in 1997, WONDERFUL SOUTH AFRICA at the Millennium Gallery in Pretoria and POL-AESTHETIC at the Civic Gallery in Johannesburg in 1998, and EXTRACT at Joao Ferreira Fine Art in Cape Town in 2001. KARSTEL currently lives and works in Cape Town.

Of TRAIL-BLAZE KARSTEL says: "TRAIL-BLAZE is a series of canvases that depict busy American city streets from the latter part of the 19th Century until about 1940. The paint is applied in a dialogue with the black and white surfaces of archive photographs. Images that interest me are those that give an indication of the transportation technology of the day, such as horse-drawn wagons, trams and vintage automobiles. All the paintings feature a vanishing point that is indicated by the convergence of built structures."

In the Long Gallery JP MEYER will exhibit new paintings in an exhibition entitled REFLECTION, of which he says: "At present my work is primarily concerned with the enactment and the ritual of mark-making as an intrinsic human activity and a meaningful practice. I am very interested in the origin, history and application of mark-making and more specifically in the relationship that exists between mark-making and ordinary consciousness. Although most of us write or draw on a daily basis in order to communicate, narrate, document or express ourselves, many cultures and traditions also use the process of mark-making, whether legible or abstract, as a means for mental development, self-investigation and contemplation – examples are the calligraphy of Islam, the brushwork of Japan (sumi-e, hitsuzendo etc.) and the mandala "sand-painting" of Tibet, to mention only a few.

Joseph Beuys once said: "Humans must learn to transcend their reality. They have to create a spiritual vehicle with which they can reach a completely different standpoint in the universe." The creative process in general, and for me repetitive mark-making in particular, is a very practical vehicle for developing concentration and cultivating an open, steady mind in order to observe, understand and transform my own continuously changing reality.

I draw inspiration from the ever present cycles, repetitions, fractals and patterns that I notice in the natural world and in my own human make-up, thought processes and behaviour. The development of stronger microscopes, telescopes and cameras increasingly demonstrates the prevalence of pattern in the universe and highlights negative space as the omnipresent "no-thing" within which the drama of form (positive space) evolves and exists.

The marks (squares, lines etc.) that I use for my work are chosen purely for their repetitive possibilities and are painted with a "free hand", while the emerging rhythms are the result only of chance and eventuality.

Although my work is motivated by personal concepts and intentions, it does not necessarily aim to convey more than the dictation of a process – in my experience the very act of seeing can facilitate an inner response that is often infinitely more relevant than that of personal, social or cultural statements. What is important is that my work reflects my belief in the value of making art that embodies optimism, order and energy."

Born in 1960, MEYER obtained a Diploma of Fine Art with a distinction in Painting from the Foundation School of Art in Cape Town where he studied from 1996 to 1999. Previously, he studied Social Work 1 and 11 at the University of the Orange Free State and worked as a flight attendant for SAA. 2000 saw him traveling extensively in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Currently, he lives in Franschhoek and paints full-time.

MEYER has participated in a variety of group exhibitions in 2003, including KRSIP at Art.b in Bellville, TWEE SKILDERS at the KKNK, WHAT IS LIFE at the SA Museum in Cape Town, PUZZLE at Rust en Vrede Gallery in Durbanville and in the Brett Kebble Awards exhibition at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. REFLECTIONS will be his first solo show.

His work hangs in the corporate collections of the Arabella Sheraton in Cape Town, and of Didata in London and in Johannesburg, as well as in numerous private collections.

STEFAN CARSTENS, upstairs, obtained a National Fine Art Diploma from the Witwatersrand Technikon (2000) and then worked as a blacksmith and managed the Castle Forge in the Cape Town Castle from 2000 to 2003. He also worked as a designer and mould maker for the ceramics industry from 1992 until 2000.

He began exhibiting on group exhibitions in 1994 at the Coetzee Roux Gallery in Johannesburg and held his first solo exhibition of sculptures and reliefs in 1996 at the French Institute of South Africa in Johannesburg, where he also participated in "24 HOURS OF CREATION in the same year. Thereafter, he participated in a group exhibition at the Rembrandt van Rijn Gallery in Newtown in 2000 and in an open air kite happening and subsequent video installation as part of the Joubert Park Public Art Project at the Johannesburg Art Gallery in 2001. In February 2003 he held a small solo exhibition of sculptures and drawings at the Greatmore Studios in Cape Town. This will be CARSTEN’S first exhibition at the AVA.

CARSTENS says of FALSE PROFIT: "We are trapped in an endless cycle of acquiring and discarding. We are sold things that are meant to complete us, to fulfil us in some way. These things, however, are produced with built in obsolescence and so we discard them in order to make space for more things, new things. And, so, the cycle continues. The waste, which temporarily made up the matrix of our lives, now pollutes our world, and the impact this has on the landscape (we have created, literally, mountains of waste) and, in turn, on ourselves, is immeasurable.

My personages are universal. They are not indigenous to any specific place. They negotiate our world - negotiate the buying and selling of ‘things’. They plough up our land indiscriminately transforming our landscape and, in the name of commercial profit, conceive the purchasing of the moon. They have sutured themselves into our social order and now rule from the boardrooms - perpetuating the cycle of acquiring and discarding.

I use found materials such as scrap steel, paper, wood and plastic. These are materials left on building sites, in scrap yards and on waste dumps. I process this detritus by forging, pulping, carving and melting. It is a process of reclaiming and recycling (an alternative to the cycle of acquiring and discarding)."

Anton Karstel (1968-)
"Kohlmanskop, diamond fields"
oil/canvas, 44cm x 65.5cm

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