Lourens and Tshikhuthula’s reminiscent glimpse of the landscape
In May 2017, Lizamore & Associates will be hosting two solo exhibitions; In Situ by MJ Lourens (in association with Barnard Gallery) and Muta by JM Tshikhuthulu. Both these exhibitions unfold around each artist’s personal connection to and memories of landscapes. These exhibitions open on 4 May 2017 at 18:00.
“The memory of the highveld is as ingrained in me as the accent I have when speaking. I use the language of these memories when painting and I return to the wide, gold-strewn swathes of the highveld in my work” says MJ Lourens about the body of work featured in In Situ. Through a nostalgic process of remembrance, Lourens enters an awareness of fleeting moments. He explains: “I experience the afterglow of loss in the grainy dusk; yet another day dissipating into night, etched by trees, steeples, silos and scaffolding… Sunrises and sunsets illuminate and forget the land daily.” In these artworks, Lourens also depicts the relentless scarring and extraction of the mining process that characterizes the highveld landscape. Roughly half the gold the world has ever processed has been wrested from the belly of the highveld, feeding the glory of its cities and their glowering electric lights. In Situ explores the excavation of this landscape. Through a romantic lens of nostalgia for home and with the vocabulary of the landscape painting tradition, this space where machinery clashes and nature rages becomes otherworldly. In Situ shows the beetling human existence in the face of the sublime.
Alongside In Situ, Muta by JM Tshikhuthula interrogates the relationship between his family and landscape from Venda and Tzaneen. “The story of my family is a typical South African tale of troubled migrant labour and geography. My father moved from Venda to Tzaneen for work when I was born. I moved from Tzaneen to Venda and then to Johannesburg for work” Tshikhuthula explains. Tshikhuthula’s grandfather worked for a company that manufactured water pipes in the 1960’s and his father was a community plumber who was appreciated in his community for going beyond the call of duty. The artist incorporates various objects and monuments, like water pumps, tanks, dams and informal housing, into nostalgic, charcoal landscapes as an ode to his late grandfather and father. The objects the artist depicts cues his grandfather and fathers’ presence. “Every time I come across an old pump, I remember my father.” For Tshikhuthula, the landscape reflects the memory of the people and community embedded in the landscape.
These exhibitions open on 4 May 2017 at 18:00 and ends on 27 May 2017 at the Lizamore & Associates gallery, 155 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood.