Passage – a new exhibition about being en route
Durban artists Nicole Pletts and Corné Eksteen will kick off Rossouw Modern’s summer exhibition programme with a moving joint exhibition about their personal life journeys, entitled ‘Passage’. The exhibition opens at the SPACE Gallery on Friday 4 October and will run until 22 October.
“Passage is defined as the action or process of moving through or past somewhere on the way from one place to another,” says Corné. “As the title suggests, these works focus on the transit between point A and B, but more specifically the universal human experience or journey between birth and death. With portraiture as the foundation of my visual vocabulary, these works are visualisations of universal experiences relating to trauma, rites of passage, coming of age, the aging process and personal transformations, which all play a part in creating the greatest journey of all – life.”
Nicole Pletts is well known as an artist who paints with passion the things in life we know and love. Her work connects us with familiar subject matter we can all relate to: her children, her garden flowers, the passing cyclist, strangers at a street cafe; commuters waiting for a train… Her paintings are typically a celebration of the ordinary, everyday things that cocoon and swaddle our journey through often troubled times.
Nicole’s gutsy approach as an expressive painter imbues whatever she turns her eye to with a magical, almost transitory quality. “My new exhibition ‘Flights of Passage’, is about being en route – on the way to, or from somewhere. It’s unlikely that our life’s journey remains predictable and it’s in the unexpected turns and destinations that the magic lies. It is when you come to the edge of suburban fairy-tale dreams and purple Plumbago that the winds of change blow in. Gentle breezes jumble and disarrange, and a new life is formed, greater and better than before”.
Nicole’s new exhibition is a delightful dreamlike melange of images. There are wings and flying superheroes, suitcases and waiting, windswept birds, clouds, city skyscrapers and airplane windows. Together this imagery evokes a world of fantasy grounded in the reality of ordinary things. The oil on canvas ‘Flights of Passage’ series is about riding the wings of change when the familiarity of our lives has blown off course.
Once again, the artist waves her adventurous paint brush like a wand with bold magical strokes to evoke a very personal journey that we can all relate to. Her exhibition invites us to get on board, step off the familiarity of our terra firma and soar with our superheroes to new heights, which is where the magic of our lives lies – wind swept and in perpetual flight.
“I first met Nicole seven years ago, when I started dating her brother, Andrew. I had known about her and specifically her work by following her on social media before even meeting Andrew, so it came as a surprise when I realised the family connection,” says Corné. “Since then we’ve become very close and the three of us often spend time together and even go on holidays together. Our most exciting trip was an extended tour of Europe in 2017, when we travelled to 14 countries in a camper van, focusing on all the important art museums and historic highlights. Adventures like these have cemented our relationship and inspired us to push our own creative boundaries.”
One of the primary incentives for Corné as an artist to create is an urgency to comprehend and come to terms with the here and now. “It is with that motivation in mind that I often find myself searching the current cultural and artistic zeitgeist to take a position, reflect on or reinterpret an aspect within these universally held beliefs. It is a search to find cultural or social movements that resonate with me and spark a visual expression of a particular ‘trending’ social norm.”
Corné explains the body of work that represents the ‘Passage’ series as having its conceptual roots in popularised notions and propositions relating to travel. “Photographs of unknown places stream through our devices into our consciousness on an everyday basis, pinned to our memories with enticing quotes about travel and the value and shifts in perception of the world and our place in it, that travelling can yield. “More often than not, the destination is the focus and the journey between point A and B only suggested. It is within that context that the most important aspect of travelling is downplayed, in tandem with other universally held or popular ideas, like ‘life is a journey, not a destination’. It is these concepts that form the basis of the exhibition.”
‘Passage’ opens at SPACE on Friday 4 October at 18:00. Contact
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An exhibition of works by Corné Eksteen (portraiture on the left) and Nicole Pletts ('Flights of Passage' on the right) will open at Rossouw Modern SPACE during Hermanus First Fridays on 4 October.