What fun it is to hang out at AVA?

It has been great to take a few days to reflect on my painting journey, now that my solo exhibition REALITY CHECK is hanging so happily at the AVA. Hanging out there is fun too, meeting old friends and new to chat about the work and my attempts to marry several approaches in the same space. Mostly we agree that it is always worthwhile to look a little closer…

Alongside my show are 2 curated shows. The group show of prints attracts interesting people, especially for the talks and workshops.

Talks, walkabouts & performances are free, but to book and purchase tickets for the workshops (R350 pp, incl materials – limited to 10 people) go to:

EVENTS: (Open to the public, advance booking only required for workshops)

Saturday 25 June 11am, Walkabout “Why Artists Print” – Jacqueline Nurse (David Krut Workshops)

Wednesday 29 June 1-2pm, Walkabout & Demo – Richard Kilpert (AVA)

Thursday 30 June 10am-1pm, Monoprint workshop for scholars (age 10-18) – Warren Editions

Saturday 2 July 10am-1pm, Kids and prints workshop (age 5 – 10) – Janna & Rose

Wednesday 6 July 1pm, Walkabout “Printing Money” – Gabriel Clarke-Brown (SA Print Gallery)

Thursday 7 July 10am – 1pm Monoprint workshop for adults – Warren Editions
Thursday 7
July 5pm – 9pm Wine Critic’s Choice (tasting, First Thursdays) – Melvyn Minaar

Wednesday 13 July 1 – 2pm, “Reality Check” Walkabout - Janet Ranson

Thursday 14 July 10am – 1pm, Drypoint Printmaking – Richard Kilpert
Friday 15 July 1 – 2pm, Puma Print performance with Rose Gelderblom Waddilove

Saturday 16 July 10am -1pm, Finnisage & collection of Under 18 work.

Please Note: For all workshops participants must bring own aprons and parental supervision is required for the children’s workshops.

16 JUNE – 16 JULY 2016
AVA Gallery
35 Church Street
Cape Town, 8001

Phone: +27-21 424-7436
Email: admin@ava.co.za

Website: www.ava.co.za

Opening Hours
Monday – Friday: 10:00 – 17:00
Saturdays: 10:00 – 13:00


This work has been brewing since my Residency in South Korea. I present a range of approaches to Nature Art: selected paintings, laminates (can you guess what they are made from…?) and related found objects. Paint applied in dancing gestural strokes and multiple layers mimics natural cycles. The abundant flowers of kerbside urban trees are revitalized as a mobile. A windblown Karoo shrub is rescued and finds its place as a wall-mounted work, allowing us to admire its astonishing structure.

Walks and other journeys are implicated in landscapes, idyllic (perhaps) despite the intervention of humans. Human activities are celebrated too, with found industrial objects integrated into the quirky concepts. Life and art are really the same. For all the energy, care and attention given to building, construction, painting, drawing and layering works, I believe that the artist’s task here is to draw our attention to Reality.

You are welcome to relax while you watch “Drift Away” in the Video Room… or click on the image here to watch visitors at the opening.

Perhaps the greatest delight is to pay close attention to the detail of a marvellous natural object. You are provided with a small torch to help observe the light and shadows in “Perfection”.

Come see the exhibition, it’s on until 16th July.

..how we celebrate the STREET LIFE of Cape Town with a Carnival?

I was asked to make colourful bunches of flowers for the dancing Blommemeisies (Flower Sellers) to carry in the Cape Town Carnival procession this year. The theme of Street Life promises a spectacular show on Saturday 12th March as they dance through the streets of Green Point along the Fan Walk.

I decided to use strictly waste plastic packaging, and visited businesses across the city to collect scrap.Right along the fanwalk I found some kind and helpful folk, willing to rummage in the boxroom for materials for me.

Then I enlisted the help of some people who know street life rather too well: the clients of U-Turn, an organisation that helps street people change their lives. So I ran workshops at the U-Turn service centres in Claremont and Central City, where the sweetest, most cheerful people helped make all these crazy flowers. Sitting together and crafting can only be good for all of us!

Look out for our creations at the Carnival on 12th!

… behind the Curtains

… the intense activcation of an empty commercial space in Adelphi Centre, curated by Yalla Shoola.

Check out the preparations here:


Work-in-progress Wongol Artist Residency Korea

Almost half-way into the month-long residency in beautiful Wongol, South Korea.

My process includes walks, rapid sketches, collections, revisiting. I take short walks each day, enjoying the feeling of the forest. The rhythm of walking generates ideas.I like the feeling of strangeness, of the forest being impenetrable because I am foreign. As David Byrne says ‘ I’m not lost, but I don’t know where I am’

I built a crude bench here on the path, with a framed view – to remind myself to be mindful preconceptions. It is easy to fall into habits of looking, and here is one of the great gifts of an art residency: to refresh one’s ways of seeing.

I sketch quickly, trying to let my hand find the essentials. The dark hills and the misty sky have made a great impression on me. I am sure I will always dream of this place, looking up at the dark hills, hearing many hidden birds. When we first arrived, the German artist, Anina, and I thought we would struggle to find paper. So I began experimenting with drawing on seaweed.

The residency allows space to try things, and to fail: e.g. my deer-hide, turned out to be quite impractical. It’s still in progress. I wanted a feeing of fragility, but the technique made it too heavy… not sure yet what to do!
Perhaps a series of nooks, niches, seats and hammocks will be worthwhile. Not a bad idea to provide comfort while communing with nature.

We’ve had some great discussions about nature and art, and the meaning of the Yatoo concept of Nature art. (I have finally learnt to drink beer in order to participate fully). The Yatoo method is purist, using found natural materials and often the body. My path-side interventions are usually quite intimate.

I have forgotten when I began making this kind of intervention- since childhood, but did not realize it was ‘Art’. When I do this I am instantly on holiday! It is wonderful to find an artistic family who shares this habit. These leaf shapes are new to me, so they demanded attention. The pine flowers were caught in a spiderweb, asking to be arranged.

This feeling of openness is important; it is this I’d like to share in my work. I recently learnt a little about labyrinths from Radu Ionescu, a theatre make and trickster from Romania. I have been working in sensory labyrinth theatre and drawing simple walking labyrinths in some marvellous locations. Labyrinths are found in many traditions and take one to a state of borderlessness of ego and environment. This seems to be a method of addressing what the nature writer Eugene Marais called the inevitable pain on consciousness. Perhaps this is what art is for!

I have drawn a labyrinth using found natural materials in contrasting colours. I plan to plant small flowers in the grass, so it can last a little longer before nature creates a different living design. Gueass what: I found vygies in the local street market!

Turning things upside-down often seems a good idea. Nature/art…? HUman/nature…? Are we in it, part of it, too dominant?

I have made upside-down trees before… here I found some beautiful roots, and some fine wabi-sabi objects at the local recycling dump. I had the BEST time at the dump – and have been playing with natural/industrial combinations.

Shocking combinations can be so pretty.

One of my favourite spots is a small wheatfield, where the wind makes waves. So beautiful it makes me speechless. I hang small pink boats on fishing rods, and sail them over the wheaten sea. It is a lovely feeling to steer the boats, so I will install a row of bamboo rods for anyone to use.

Playfulness may seem like a small and unimportant thing, but I think it is the way to become more present. We can set aside our intellectual analysis and art-critical approach. It is useful to practice this opening up, to communicate with the ecosystem where we find ourselves. Humans are too rigid in their thinking and Civilization has lost its connection to natural rhythms, to our cost. Art can teach humans to be playful and light again, to lengthen moments of pre-cognitive perception, so we can learn to apprehend a sense of deep ecology more directly.

If we become more childlike we can become more wise!