Excellent work from Eksteen
IT WAS a thrilling experience to be in the Middle Gallery at artSPACE Durban in Millar Road, Morningside – surrounded by beautiful portraits at the opening of disintegration, an exhibition by Durban artist Corné Eksteen.
Although it took Eksteen just three months to complete his show, he has produced a spectacular display of original portrait paintings, the likes of which Durban has not seen for some time.
Much of Eksteen’s success can be traced to his ability to find endless facial expressions as, in a way, they are an instructive inquiry into the nature of his portraits. The red in most paintings is dominant and, as it is a suggestive and strong colour, quickly draws viewers into the painting.
Moreover, as a painter Eksteen has not only focused on the dynamics of the portrait but, as a professional artist, ensures the face he portrays is carefully integrated with the background, which gives a most satisfying and unified outcome.
Through a process of drawing on conventions of both figurative and abstract painting, he attempts “to visually dissect the subject matter in the pursuit of an understanding of the dynamics and transient nature of the 21st century psyche”, Eksteen says. And he succeeds!
He is totally absorbed in his work. It is as if he lives inside his paintings.
At this week’s opening he told viewers that he sometimes used the faces/features of two or three people, amalgamating these into a new portrait.
His style is of today and already unique – a great accomplishment for any artist.
Born in Zastron, South Africa, in 1973, he studied for a BA in Fine Art at the University of Pretoria and Unisa. He spent several years working in related fields, from menswear design to interior decorating, before painting full time from 2003.
Eksteen took part in numerous group, two-person and solo shows, and has reached the finals of Absa L’Atelier. He was recently nominated as having the best work on show in the artSPACE Exchange competition.
Eksteen will do a walkabout at the gallery at 11am on Saturday.
Meanwhile, in the gallery’s main space, Jane Strode’s exhibition, Sea Fever, offers a very different body of work.
Growing up and living on the North Coast, the sea has always been a part of Strode’s life.
On regular visits to Cape Town she realised that the light there was different. She took many photos, and her work is about interpreting these images in paint, using palette knife and brush strokes to create texture.
In her CV she writes: “I have macular degeneration, and my eyesight is only 50% of a normal person’s vision.
“I’ve found a freedom of movement in my brushstrokes, and the colours have also changed. I want to paint the loneliness, the space, the vastness, the clean colours and the coldness of the water, as well as the beauty and fear of rough seas.”
Landscape painting is extremely difficult, and it is even harder to find a portrayal that makes vision and execution a unique experience for the viewer. To create and develop a personal style that can be recognised takes years and years.
Strode has certainly made a very good effort.
As George Braque once said: “Every painting begins with a problem and ends with a prayer.”
Detail from two works by Durban artist Corné Eksteen, now on show at artSpace Durban in Millar Road, Morningside. The art is on show until September 19.