GFI gallery launches unique ink art exhibition


An ink art exhibit of the old Post Office building that housed the former Baakens Police Station can be viewed at Park Drive’s GFI Gallery

An ink art exhibit of the old Post Office building that housed the former Baakens Police Station can be viewed at Park Drive’s GFI Gallery 
Image: Fredlin Adriaan

The Gutsche Family Investments (GFI) Art Gallery in Park Drive officially opened an exhibition in celebration of ink as a medium of art on Wednesday evening.

The Collective Ink exhibition is a showcase of diverse artworks by over 40 artists from Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

The gallery invited artists to submit ink-created works in block print, linocut, etching, mono print, dry point, ink drawing, ink painting, and fine art photography mediums to be showcased at the gallery until April 30.

“The emphasis of this exhibition is for the display and sale of quality Ink produced works,” GFI exhibition coordinator Elizabeth van den Berg said.

Exhibiting along other artists is photographer Karl Schoemaker, showcasing photographs from his Prison Cells series. Schoemaker took the photographs of apartheid-era graffiti at the former prison cells below ground at the former Baakens Street Police station, where many people were imprisoned under Section 6 of the Terrorism Act.

“I find these images quite hard-hitting and being in that place [to take photographs] was a very emotional experience for me,” Schoemaker said.
He said he had intentionally kept the photographs as “plain” as possible so as not to dilute the truth in them.

“I took photographs at one of the smallest cells there and it hit me hard seeing tiny toilet and how small everything was ... there were other cells where the prisoners wrote on the walls how devastated they were and why they had been locked up,” he said.

The photographs on exhibit form part of a bigger project, Schoemaker said.

Other exhibitors include Bay ceramicist Donve Branch, fine artist Thembalethu Manqunyana, Jonathan Silverman and Pola Maneli among many more.

The GFI Art Gallery, located at 30 Park Drive in Central, is open from 10am until 4pm on weekdays, and 10am until 1pm on Saturdays and public holidays.

For more information contact (041) 586-3973.

Well-known artists explore diversity of ink

ESCAPE ARTISTS: Karl Schoemaker’s photograph, ‘Departure’

COLLECTIVE INK, April 4 to May 7 at GFI Art Gallery in Park Drive. Reviewed by Annette Loubser.

COLLECTIVE Ink became a good kick-off exhibition for the year at the GFI gallery, attracting both new and existing audiences as well as artists.
Artists from the Bay and nationally were invited to participate in a group show, focusing on the thrill of ink as used in illustrations, drawings, paintings, printmaking, news media, photography and, interestingly, ceramics.
Curator Hayley Grinstead proved herself knowledgeable and adept in creating an interesting group exhibition.
Stephen Rosin has two subtle and skilfully executed ballpoint pen drawings, Arcadian Hive and Dreams of Zeus, that are powerful social commentaries.
The Union Buildings in Arcadian Hive allude to a type of power edifice.
In contrast, Dreams of Zeus is an allegory that deals with the theme of human arrogance. Technical subtlety and intellectual rigour make it a contemplative work with allusions to astrology and constellations – the realm of Zeus.
Bleik (Bleach), by Amanda de Wet, is another intriguing image. It looks like a bleached lightweight fabric but the intensity of the manual work using an ordered and systematic painting manner mimics the operating systems of digital media.
In the series of portraits titled Father’s Day, New Brightonbased artist Dollar Sapeta isolates the figure from the background by using unusual viewpoints and positioning the subject almost as a fragment of the page.
The fathers look tired, worn out and terribly alone. Many fathers have either been abandoned by their families or their deep sense of guilt and failure to become successful providers have made them withdraw into this state of isolation.
Sapeta seems to share a closeness and compassion with these men, which he also feels helpless to do anything about, beyond drawing and painting them.
Departure, by Karl Schoemaker, is a large-format photograph of a cell at the notorious Baakens Street Police Station. Schoemaker focuses his seeing on the space, graffiti and light on the walls instead of what the cell actually represents.
Reflecting historical continuity and something new to see in the provincial arts arena are the works of three of the “first phase” Grahamstown Group artists from the 1960s and early ’70s: Estelle Marais, Hilary Graham and Cleone Cull.
Graham invents himself as a mythological character, this time as Hilare Tang, who is on a mission and in search of adventure.
In the new Pastoral Dissonance Series, his fascination for the ancient Chinese art making manuals sees him applying speed and brevity in his line work to articulate ideas, story or thoughts in the most succinct manner.
Cull’s Sound bite seems a semi representational carrier of a moment or message from a deeper consciousness or historical time that surrounds us almost as a form of intuition. The changing forms and light of the Karoo and Klein Karoo has become a renewed and even more powerful theme in Marais’ recent work.
The small and quick drawing, Karoo Sheep, indicates her hand, heart and head co-ordination have almost become a subconscious visual language or script.
Cape Town artist Hanien Conradie’s small, monochrome ink landscapes in the series The Subjective Herbarium seem to capture a place as an act of remembering and respect.
Popular art has been clustered into one gallery space with some works playful, others more graphic or slightly esoteric. They are predominantly by a younger generation of artists who fetishise or adapt objects and ideas to become part of an alternative reality.
Grinstead’s eye for design is exciting in her selection of ceramics from Donve Branch and porcelain artist Kate Malan. Branch uses basic firing methods to explore how fire and earth can create wonderful ranges of African inspired shapes and textures.
Malan’s fun black-and-white paint spattered plates are combined with her smaller, always elegant functionally shaped vessels in a range of black, grey and white glazes.