‘OBVERSE’ is an exhibition of works by Audrey Atkinson and Stephanie Slabbert which will open in The Greene Gallery on Friday January 19th from 16:00 – 18:00
Obverse: The opposite or counterpoint of a fact or truth. Corresponding to something else as its opposite or counterpoint.
Both artists know this gallery and space well and have used it for both art education as well as social and cultural interaction with local and international communities over the last 20 years. Both have used it as a professional tool for their art and as an important laboratory of visual investigation, experimentation and critical and comparative analysis of art and design in many contexts. Both have engaged students and visitors of all ages in encounter and dialogue with art and artists. Stephanie was a teacher for many years and is now thrilled to be a student again. She says has always dabbled around the edges of art, but feels she is a late starter – or slow starter – when it comes to painting. She began in the kitchen, where the shapes and colours of the simple and taken-for-granted prompted her to get painting. She says she has not yet “arrived where it is all at.” Perhaps artists should always keep exploring, and never feel they have arrived. “The end is where we start from” – TS Eliot.
Audrey’s work incorporates life drawing, photography, printmaking, painting, ceramics and silk screen printed textiles with ideas emerging from numerous interesting sketchbooks. Recurring human forms and themes of architectural space and the effects of time on surfaces, a suggestion of projected or transferred photographic or cinematic narrative consisting of gestural human marks, calligraphic lines and layers of transparent and opaque paint both reveal and obscure the image. This painterly technique has been transferred through printmaking processes to functional and decorative fabrics like silk and linen, creating flexible and interactive works that extend the language of the paintings into fashion and textile design.
Both artists take their everyday lives; the ordinary stuff of daily work and frequent observation – the kitchen sink and indeed the walls and windows of the house or other enclosed spaces – there is the human body, writing, images, feelings, analysis, memory, and imagination – all of these things are bound up into the rigorous processes and techniques of their art and craft as forming an integral part of their complex and busy lives. Art is transformative- it stands in relation to life not as a simple mirrored reflection but rather like the flower stands in relation to the raw earth or compost of dead matter and waste it comes from and returns to in ever-recurring cycles. The artists’ chosen title for this exhibition ‘Obverse’, as well as perhaps highlighting the differences between them, suggests also this transformation of the ordinary into the extraordinary, the unnoticed into the noticed, and the unremarkable into the remarkable.