artSPACE durban is proud to present “Grace Kotze: 13 Years of Painting: 2000 – 2013”, a solo exhibition of paintings by KZN artist Grace Kotze (b.1968). Featuring a selection of paintings from landscapes to human forms spanning 13 years.
I have had the good fortune of the generous invitation to exhibit at artSPACE durban showcasing a body of work representative of my career as an artist thus far. Such a show has opened my eyes to a deeper understanding of the importance of standing back to view one’s journey. Through the pre-show preparations I have been able to view each work within the context of a whole. This has highlighted the creative process, the passing of time and the importance of the artists realising their independence to the power of the creative process.
Such an attitude takes away the urgency and preciousness of producing a single work and instills an awareness of how a work is purely a vehicle to bridge the gap to the next and hopeful along the way gain a flicker of understanding into one’s present. The anxieties of resolving a single work are reduced and one can relax into the process and knowing that if produced with authenticity and gathered knowledge it will echo one’s state of mind regardless of what direction one wishes to force it to follow. This exhibition highlights some of those “Ah Ha!” moments one has an artist when one is able to accept that the canvas is there to both own as one’s own story yet accept that the scribe is the process and it’s voice needs to be honoured if work of any value is to be produced.
“13 Years of Painting: 2000 – 2013” is about lessons learnt, the most important one is realising that there is so much to be learnt and that each work should be approached from this stance where there are no predetermined outcomes as each work is the next step into the unknown. Unfortunately this is not always the case in my work due to the practical demands of a career artist but a sentiment I strive to honour.
I am sure as an outsider it is not apparent but the exhibition feels like I am about to read a very personal diary out loud. Rather a daunting thought for me! Yet this should have been very obvious to me when I initially started curating the show as my journey of making art is a very personal one, a visual journal that speaks of not only my state of mind at the time of each work but my chosen collected history that determines my future direction. Through the alchemy of paint I rifle through my emotions in order to make sense of my world. Painting is my means of navigating my path and standing steady, it’s crucial to who I am.
Although such an integral part of my life it has not always been a constant. After graduating from Technikon Natal (currently Durban University of Technology) in 1990, I exhibited very sparingly until 2005 when I committed to the process of art making. I had my first solo show in 2000 and was so shattered by the public exposure that I withdrew for five years. Yet I felt it important to include this exhibition in “13 Years of Painting: 2000 – 2013” as it planted very important seeds that lay dormant until I saw my first Turner painting in the “flesh” in 2004. The five-year break from 2000 to 2005 was also a time of maturing, where I discarded large chunks of the creative-stunting monster: the ego, while learning the ever-valuable trade of mural painting.
Although I had been an incredibly hard working student and painted whenever I could afford the time after graduating, it was only until 2005 when I experienced the pure sensual delight in the process. Having the penny drop that applying paint consumed one’s intellect, physical sensors and emotional core, I became totally enthralled.
“13 Years of Painting: 2000 – 2013” illustrates some of the obstacles I hammered through in order to gain deeper understandings of the glorious process of paint. One could also view the show as a celebration into the opening of my eyes and pure delight of the world seen through the eyes of the painting process.
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