Art Appreciation: The Berman Contemporary Artist

By Katekani Shivambu

Art is an expression of feeling, soul and depth and can be expressed in different mediums. Whether it is through music, dance or paint on canvas. I will be exploring my appreciation for African art based on the Berman Contemporary Art gallery artists, I will be looking at my favourite pieces and series by the artists and delve into the messaging as well as the thinking behind the artist’s work. 

The BermanContempoary art gallery is the housing brand for South African based artists, rooted in the richness of our culture and the diversity of contemporary art in South Africa. Through studio visits, the gallery establishes connections to artists from all walks of life whose unique artistic processes celebrate their historical and cultural heritage and give voice to their complex societal realities, evoking an active and interpretative experience for the viewer.

I will be looking at two artists that piqued my interest with their series of work, that expresses diversity, through mixed media art, their work particularly expresses a different touch through an unusual but thought-provoking art form. 

Ingrid Bolton

The Cape Town-based Ingrid Bolton was born in Johannesburg South Africa in 1963. The 56-year-old expresses her interest in global pressing issues and gives them life through art for discussion. Her recent work looks at the roles of microscopic phytoplankton on the ocean, cable theft and oceanic acidification. Her work is the epitome of thought-provoking while sending a messaging the world does not want to voice out.. 

Her exhibition at the Berman Contemporary art gallery on the 25 Oct- 8 Nov 2018 entitled Reconnect explored the tensions between the binary opposites of chaos and structure, connectivity and disruption, man and nature, technology and art. Using connective cables as a metaphor to investigate our reliance on structured systems of communication, Bolton creates intricate cityscapes which simultaneously speaks of technological advancement and destruction. Expressing particularly how we define our contemporary society is integrally linked with how we employ technology, how we communicate and connect. 

The series creates an interlink between nature and technology and how technology is slowly becoming a part of our being, wherein our decision making is determined by its change and advances. Reconnect also forces us to discuss the issue of reconnecting with nature outside of technology and finding the essence of mankind which is what the cellular art pieces speak to me, it is a contradiction of technology and the cells in our body, communicating that we continue to multiply with or without technology. 

 Eskom Squared 2018

Layered landscape III 2018

 Cellular VI 2018

Merian Hester 

Merian is based in Johannesburg, completing her honours in fine art in 2018 with UNISA, she discovered her passion for art in 2014 after having worked as an investment banking and lawyer. Her recent project deals in various ways with landscape and the increasing concerns being expressed worldwide about the effect of the Anthropocene era on nature and ecological systems.  The landscape bronze exhibition at the Turbine Art fair comprises a cloud of tiny suspended coins for bees, made from Fabriano paper mâché, also accompanied by a sound work referencing the sky. Other than installation, she also works in bronze sculpture, painting and printmaking.

TAF|Installation 2018

TAF|Installation 2018

The artists above share a distinct commonality where they express pressing issue through an art form that not only looks exceptional but also encourages the need to know or hunger to comprehend the message behind the art. I am particularly intrigued by the textures, and creativity infused in their pieces and will be following their journey in artistry continuously. #ArtAppreciation

Berman Contemporary 

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