The Shape of Nature
As soon as Arabella Caccia explains where her art comes from, and having seen her work, it all makes sense to me. It just seems to fit perfectly. Looking at her work evokes a wave of emotion, much like the actual waves that you might spot woven into her work multi-layered work.
Born in London to an Italian father and a South African mother, Caccia grew up in Tuscany, central Italy, and lived her teenage years in Johannesburg. After spending time in SA’S biggest city, she found herself living and studying in some of the biggest international cities – New York, London and Florence. She now has four daughters – of whom none went into the world of art. Caccia laughs at this fact, saying that they have definitely seen enough of that “crazy” world and decided it wasn’t for them.
The origin of her newest exhibition, Without Words – which was hosted at Everard Read in the Boland town of Franschhoek – consists of work she had previously done on baobab trees in Botswana. She visited the Southern African country to do a series of drawings on their indigenous giant baobab trees. One day, she was lying in a hammock strung from one of the trees, when she noticed the texture of the tree’s bark and all the intricate patterns that it created. She became captivated with those delicate patterns and started sketching. She even made silicone casts to make multiple prints with. This was where it all started.
Her art currently comes from the patterns that she saw in the bark of the baobab. At a later stage, she took a trip to Nature’s
Valley and was walking by the sea when she noticed some familiar patterns in the rocks lining the shore. This discovery ignited a fascination with the shapes and patterns found in nature. As she describes it, similar patterns are everywhere, throughout the world. To Caccia, they represent a common language in nature and therefore everything can be viewed as interconnected.
After breaking the shapes down into smaller pieces, Caccia painted them all individually, and then utilised them in various parts of her art. Each shape then took on its own character, and interestingly, started to resemble ancient symbols, including the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt, and old cave drawings.this just reiterated the interconnectivity in nature and history. As Caccia explained this concept, it made sense that language is also connected to the textures found in nature – however strange that may sound.
Caccia uses milk paint, which is made out of milk and lime, to which she adds a pigment to make a desired colour. When she works on her sculptures, each shape is handmade individually and welded or soldered together to make a stunning whole.
Before the current stage of her career, she focused more on what she terms “conventional art”. These pieces came from a very organic place and while some were commissioned, Caccia always stayed true to her artistic vision in her work, ultimately leading to the art we are currently able to appreciate.
As an artist, Caccia is certainly not a one-trick pony – she also does live art performances which have proven very popular. Together with Jessica Bailey, a
talented cellist, they make magic happen. Caccia will paint on the wall of the art gallery and not on canvas, while Bailey will play music on her cello. Caccia explains that there is an energy between her and Bailey – Caccia will go where the music leads her and will paint what it evokes from within while the public watches on, excited to see the end result. The aim of these performances is to experience the unique energy between two creatives, as well as appreciate the art for what it is and represents in that moment. She explains that people have become very materialistic with art and seek to grow their collections for the wrong reasons. A piece of art should always be appreciated for what it is in that moment when you first lay eyes on it. After the performance, attendees will have the memory of what they saw unfolding in front of their eyes, and the work will stay on the wall as a reminder of that creative energy. The only record of the creation process is a short video that captures the entirety of the night, and these videos can be found on Caccia’s website.
Arabella Caccia’s art is a force to be reckoned with. It’s art that everyone can relate to as it consists of everyday, familiar shapes fused into stunning works with Caccia’s signature flair mixed in.
Arabella Caccia is represented by Everard Read in both South Africa and the United Kingdom. To view more of Caccia’s work or to learn more about this enigmatic artist, follow her on Instagram @arabellacaccia1, or visit her website www.arabellacaccia.com.
Surface, milk paint on canvas, 170 x 170 cm, 2018.
Planet, milk paint on paper, 120 x 120 cm, 2017.