In Karel Nel’s lecture 25/05/2004 he asked “Is art a question or is it an answer?” For me it is both, it asks me questions and gives me answers – sometimes simultaneously, but more often with varied time differences. This visual / manual exploration brings a form of completion to my life, and leads to a questioning on my part of what I am searching for.
My ‘Rationale’ for starting the Advanced Diploma was a quest for regeneration through returning to the campus from my past to search for my personal identity, developing my own iconography in expressing emotions through my work. This identity had been smothered unwittingly through necessity, having 4 children and teaching for 30 years.
Seeking to find my real self by journeying from the ‘now’ back to Wits, where I qualified in 1952 – and like a time warp – compress those 52 years and start again where I left off ‘then’. But not without the knowledge gained and experiences of pain, anger, joy, love and death, in fact the celebration of life which I feel now.
Now with more time to paint, I am trying to draw for a minimum of one hour every day, this was suggested by Simon Stone, as a remedy for the mental block that I was experiencing at the time of our conversation. This simple action brings about a springing of new ideas, with a surprising regenerative power. I am looking at my own work with greater criticality, but still like to play with it, until I come to a place where I cannot take anything out, or put anything in without spoiling what is there. Simon also told me that he likes to work on a painting until it reaches a state of inevitability, which is a succinct description of what I strive to say.
My latest work is mainly about binaries, which I see and feel revolving around me like twin stars, and finding a balance between them. Hope and despair, black and white, male and female, inside and outside as in external reality balanced with internal emotion, upside down and right way up. The ‘dreaming’ with eyes wide-open or shut tight, is reached by using meditation and letting the impulse to control melt away.
In 2005, approaching three quarters of a century, I can face my future with a confidence that was lacking in my early years. Fears of memory loss, and fragmentation are simply some aspects in my life of which I can explore through my work, by reworking unfinished paintings, and using old photos and drawings as source material, inverting and subverting. This action suggests elements of timelessness; and probability versus uncertainty; of transience and change, all of these are part of what I am looking for in this exploration.