Archive for April, 2013

Ilko Alexandrov – "Worst Case Scenario II"

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Ilko Alexandrov is a well-established niche artist on SouthAfricanArtists.com whose tastes run to the darker, more pensive side of life. Ilko works mostly in mixed media, but some works in this gallery are oils.

A good example of the moody sensibilities displayed by this artist can be seen in "Worst Case Scenario II." In the lower right-hand corner of the canvas, a lone figure leans into a heavy rainstorm, about to escape off the border of the picture. Though we can’t see the face and, indeed, have only a vague suggestion of a body clothed in a dark red, ankle-length coat, we somehow capture the spirit of the figure immediately. Drenched, embattled, and probably nearly hopeless, he nevertheless trudges onward.

The rest of the painting is a bleak, minimalistic depiction of what perhaps is a road, a horizon, and possibly a tree. It matters not at all that the viewer can’t identify the forms. What’s important is the startling impact the painting inevitably creates.

"Desolate and Dying Summer V" is another mixed media offering along the same lines. True to its title, it shows a grey, amorphous day outside a huge window and an empty chair flanked by a green curtain. A somehow frightening black shape hovers over the chair, perhaps a raven that just made its way into the house through the partially open window.

Ilko’s slogan is "Visiting the absences, architecting the obscure." This motto seems to sum up everything Ilko Alexandrov is about as an artist.

Glendine – "Landscape"

Monday, April 15th, 2013

This SouthAfricanArtist goes by one name, Glendine. She is a professional, working artist, renowned in her home country and recognized abroad. Glendine has almost always painted. Her work is at once intimate and joyous, full of life and her love of it and everything around her. Rare qualities indeed.

"Landscape" shows a whimsical view of a little cottage atop a hill. It is flanked on one side by two lollipop-type trees, and behind it lies a bright yellow sky. In the foreground, which covers two-thirds of the camvas, we see a rolling field that climbs upward and becomes the hillock on which the house sits. Nicely structured by heavy shadow strokes, it is also covered by thin, curving lines representing tall reeds in the immediate foreground of the picture. The entire color palette consists of a happy tomato red landscape with the yellow sky in the background and the little white house as the focal point, drawing the viewer in. This friendly, somehow comforting piece is an acrylic measuring 24″ by 24″ square.

One of Glendine’s finest works in this collection is called "Laslappie," a lively oil on canvas. This picture also shows a white farmhouse with red roof and a tree, and also evinces the same joyful feeling. But it is entirely different. Glendine portrays the rolling field in the foreground as a literal quilt, complete with fabric patterns and delineated rectangular patches. The mountain in the background is a startling black, setting off a sky full of dramatic sunset colors carried out in bold, deft strokes.

Jack Lugg – "Summer Morning"

Monday, April 15th, 2013

An accomplished abstract artist, Jack Lugg sometimes dabbles in sculpture work. His strengths, however, lie in his oil paintings, for which he has a gift. He wields his powers freely, yet with a clear vision, to produce interesting, appealing, and sometimes moving art, priced accordingly on SouthAfricanArtists.com.

Many of Jack’s paintings smack of the Cubist style. "Summer Morning" is a good example of these, and on the lower rung of his price range. It depicts four full human figures in a row in the lower center of the canvas. One plays an instrument like an early clarinet, while the others listen. An enormous geometric border frames the main picture within its highly graphic borders. Inside this painted frame, at the top, several primitive figures appear, and it is further decorated with trees on either side. Looking closer, we notice two large figures, one on either side of the four listening men. Above them is a symbol that could represent the tree of life, on which sits a large white bird. The only clue the artist gives us for this painting’s interpretation is its title, "Summer Morning."

"Evolution" is a purely abstract work in the most classical sense of the word. An indeterminate background full of depth and texture is all but suffused by a plane of bold, curving slashes in bright hues. The color palette is an attractive one, with salmons, russets, and yellows complemented by contemporary blues.

Another piece, "The Struggle for Existence," is one of Jack’s most complex pieces, well worth a look.

 

Wallace Hulley – "A Passing Scene"

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Artist Wallace Hulley is a renowned painter in South Africa, born to the palette knife and wielding it effectively for more than 45 years. His body of work on SouthAfricanArtists.com reflects a grand love for tribal African peoples, South African wildlife, and landscapes. Having spent much of his artistic life creating with oils and palette knife, he switched to watercolor and found success with the brush.

"A Passing Scene" is an oil on board featuring several white cottages with rough brown roofs. The foreground is given over to palette knife slashes of varicolored creams with teal and salmon rays incorporated for texture. It is this almost purely amorphous foreground that provides most of the perspective for the painting. A stormy indigo sky has been laid down behind the buildings and their surrounding trees, and the high-contrast lighting rimes each building with bold white lines.

"Sunlit Cottage" is another  atmospheric oil painting in a similar vein. A small white cottage is nearly hidden by a large tree in the foreground. Looking closer, we are swept away by the heavily textured strokes and fearless use of shadow.

A large oil called "African Market" is on the high end of Hulley’s work in this gallery. It is a complicated depiction of the marketplace, full of lively people, wares, and vivacity. "After the Rain" is a mid-priced treasure portraying a simple earthen road full of Hulley’s characteristic palette work. The path winds off the page, surrounded by lovely vegetation and framed by a blue-washed sky.

 

Nemesia – "Alive with Enthusiasm"

Monday, April 15th, 2013

In her own words, Nemesia says, "I love people. And I love to paint." Her goal is to capture her subjects’ spirit on canvas, interpreting in two dimensions what she perceives in four.

The artist does not always stick to human portraits or the human form, however. "Alive with Enthusiasm" is a decorative oil on canvas depicting a few sprays of flowers on a striking background. A warm color palette of salmons, yellows, and greens would embellish practically any wall, and the subject itself is indeed enthusiastic. Nemesia has a sure hand with outlining and textural brushstrokes, as well as a nice sense of composition.

Many of Nemesia’s pieces bear titles such as "Alive with Enthusiasm," leading the viewer to instantly understand the type of emotion she wants to convey. "Bold Calmness," "Justice – Easy Going," and "Christelle – She Walks Along Rivers of Serenity" are good examples of these. There is an ongoing debate in the art world as to whether a work of art should have such descriptive titles, or whether it should, perhaps, speak for itself. It seems that Nemesia would like to be very clear in her interpretations. This is a legitimate stance, one which could be construed as considerate toward her viewers.

Alternatively, "We Don’t See God’s Angels 1" is a large oil showing a woman praying, unaware that an angel is right at her side, about to touch her shoulder. There is no question, regardless of the title, what the artist is trying to communicate here.

 

 

Thijs Nel – "Box (Inner Windows)"

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Thijs Nel uses his art as a central coping mechanism for life itself. For this painter, art is "a means of coming to terms with my immediate environment." Art is, in fact, an excellent bridge between the inner and the outer world, and Thijs seeks out a vibrant, living balance in each and every canvas he creates.

Most of Nel’s work are done in oil or acrylics, but there are some mixed media offerings, and even ceramic stoneware pieces. He consistently sticks to a contemporary abstract style, evoking the viewers’ interest through color, rhythm, and pure skill.

"Box (Inner Windows)" is an intriguing acrylic on cardboard with a white background. The box is the one and only subject, and is portrayed realistically in shades of brown and grey, a perfect representation of a very interesting box, indeed. Each side of this cube has shapes resembling windows, so that the viewer wants, above all, to enter into this extraordinary environment.

Because the perspective and realistic treatment are so nicely carried out, and because the box is on a totally white background, the viewer tends to keep thinking it’s a three-dimensional sculpture he’s seeing, and not a painting.

The window theme pops up in Nel’s work often. "Window Variations" is another extremely subtle abstract with geometric shapes in pale-to-pastel colors.

Thijs Nel is a well-known name in the South African art community and among several upscale collectors. He offers a large gallery on SouthAfricanArtists.com in a wide price range.

Gerard Vlok Goegels – "Still Life with Fruit"

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Gerard Vlok Goegels has a colorful style, full of his own unique point of view. His subjects are frequently males, frozen in interesting moments, most often nude or semi-clothed.Symbolism and fantasy play important roles in his artwork, which is inevitably freewheeling and attractive.

"Still Life with Fruit" is one of Vlok’s most successful pieces. An unassuming grouping of fruit with the usual vase on a table, this oil on canvas is made irresistible by its stunning graphic nature. Dozens of perfect squares comprise the picture, each one in a shade that enhances. The painting is an uneven trapezoid on top of a painted, olive-colored border, complete with vivid shadows in two opposite corners, adding a calculated depth.

The color palette of "Still Life with Fruit" is bold and uncompromising, featuring a tomato-red vase and apple, a chartreuse pear, and a yellow background. The objects rest together on the edge of a blue table, which forms another trapezoid that covers about the lower one-third of the picture. Trendy and fun, this piece is altogether enchanting.

Graphic elements play a big part in Gerhard Vlok’s artistic style. "Postcards from the Edge" is another good example, featuring several rectangular, abstract postcards outlined in bold, black shadows, all on a mardi gras-style background. We’re either going on vacation or to some kind of dark party… or both.

While Vlok is quite capable of realistic art, it will still usually have strong graphic elements. "Beth" is a lovely case in point.

Dale Robertson – "Sensual Portrait 1″

Monday, April 15th, 2013

This SouthAfricanArtists.com contributor has a nice collection of photographic art in his online gallery. Of his work, Dale Robertson says that it’s a privilege to capture moments in the lives of his subjects. He believes that turning that moment into a piece of art takes it out of time and makes it, and the subject, immortal. "If only we could capture every moment of our lives," he says. It is in this spirit that he creates his artistic photographs.

"Sensual Portrait 1" is a photo of a woman against a rocky wall, wearing a revealing, feminine dress. The composition in this well-executed photograph is interesting, with the almost geometric planes of the woman’s body exaggerated by high contrast and echoed in the craggy surfaces behind her. But what is most appealing is the expression on the woman’s face. She gazes off to her left, far beyond the borders of the picture, with a look that might be fear, awe, or wonder. We want to know what it is she sees, and exactly what it is she’s feeling.

While "Sensual Portrait 1″ is executed in a completely realistic style, many of Robertson’s other pieces are manipulated digitally. A black and white piece labeled simple "Nude" is a good example of his vision in digital photographic art. This piece is a monochromatic depiction of a nude female subject in a semi-fetal position, face hidden. The artist combines bold outlines of her body with otherworldly veins in the surreal background, which are repeated in the woman’s extremities. The effect is  organic and  startling.

 

 

Willie du Plooy – "Fighting Zebras"

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Artist Willie du Plooy works almost exclusively in oil and shows a penchant for South African wildlife themes. On SouthAfricanArtists.com, he has published a series called "Out of Africa Edition," each of which features a nicely executed portrait of a different animal protruding from the graphic outline of a map of Africa.

Also interesting are du Plooy’s well-done, classical oils such as "Fighting Zebras." This painting depicts two zebras in the midst of an altercation of some kind, out on the wild, near-desolate plains of South Africa. Side by side, they are captured in action, black and white zigzag stripes clashing against one another as they struggle. A bare tree full of leafless branches curves upward just behind them, adding weight to the atmosphere.

"Under the Sea" is a rare glimpse into the impossibly blue world of dolphins, sea turtles, and various exotic fishes. Also realistic, the oil on canvas nevertheless strikes its viewer as extremely surreal, since the bulk of the painting depicts ocean life under water, while the top fourth of the canvas is devoted to the wave-ridden ocean above.

Du Plooy enjoys taking a departure into the odd venture now and then. "Coca-Cola Victorian Lady," one such picture, is a faithful reproduction in oil of the famous Victorian lady inside a portrait-style oval, surrounded by the standard advertising slogans of the era.

"Bataleur," on the other hand, is a beautifully done, straight-forward portrait of the multi-colored bird on a curved branch, in front of a turquoise sky.

 

Kathy Kay – "Crimson Dawn"

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Kathy Kay is one of those artists who graduated from watercolors to oils over the course of her art career. A beach resident, she has made a special study of painting water and waves and has unlocked the key to success for her seascape visions. Also a photographer, Kathy frequently paints from photos she takes for that purpose. Her collection of artwork on SouthAfricanArtists.com is heavy on the ocean scapes, but also includes several nice landscapes and some miscellaneous  South African wildlife subjects.

"Crimson Dawn" is a quintessential beach scene from this accomplished artist. A hugely dramatic sky of salmon- and lavender-colored clouds is reflected in the wet sand and ocean water spread out below it. This is a good-sized oil on canvas, created in an impeccable, minimalistic style. The waves cut in a lively, shallow diagonal across the canvas, and clouds echo their motion above. The artist says of this painting that she captured what she saw in a magnificent sunrise on the beach one morning. It must have been an inspiring morning, indeed.

"End of the Day" and "Breaking Wave" are two more lovely ocean-themed paintings in this gallery. The first gives us a close-up view of three large boats anchored in a harbor, bobbing gently in water that seems to actually move as we view it. Kathy has an uncanny ability with reflections and the white crests of moving waters. This last is the star of the show in "Breaking Wave," an attractive, traditional seascape.