Let’s Talk About Nature

AKINCI Gallery

3 November - 22 December 2018

Let’s Talk About Nature – What is natural? How do we perceive nature and what is our relationship to nature as human beings of the 21st Century? There are so many questions evolving from thoughts about nature and the essence of the natural. Do we create ‘surrogates’ to understand nature and are works of art probably the best bridge for understanding? The invited artists Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács (Netherlands), Ruby Swinney (South Africa), Inge Meijer (Netherlands) and Melanie Bonajo (Netherlands) contribute in this show with their observations, concepts and visions.

The Last Lap of Luxury, 2018. Oil on silk, 60 x 150cm.
The Last Lap of Luxury, 2018. Oil on silk, 130 x 60cm

... Cape Town-based young artist Ruby Swinney (1992) who has just graduated from Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Art, and whose immersive body of works are acquired and shown in the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) right now, is known for her sensitive oil paintings on tracing paper. She transports the viewer into a totally unknown world full of mysterious apparitions – almost into a ‘parallel universe’. The semi-recognisable and timeless landscapes she depicts are inhabited by peculiar figures who seem to encapsulate – what? The fragility of our existence? The ethereal nature of her paintings expresses a state of uncertainty and longing for the natural world, one that is slowly vanishing. Swinney’s semi-recognisable and timeless landscapes and lush alleys are inhabited by peculiar figures with elongated heads or long shadows.

Her use of a monochrome palette further expresses this concept, effectively casting each scene in a haze of nostalgia that longs for a time that could have been. In her own words: ‘I think I have certain responses to the present technological revolution that echo the Romantics earlier responses to industrialisation. They reacted by embracing ideas of the sublime in the natural and spiritual or mythical world… In my work I’m trying to evoke this painful longing and uncertainty of what it is to be human, as we fearfully peer out at a shifting world that is becoming dark and unfamiliar.’