Highlights from Barnard Gallery’s Exhibit at Investec Cape Town Art Fair

WORDS Gina Dionisio PHOTOS Supplied

Barnard Gallery has been participating in the Investec Cape Town Art Fair since its inception in 2013 and will once again present a stunning collection of works for its 11th edition.

Barnard Gallery’s showcase at the fair will highlight paintings and photographs from both primary and secondary markets. The works primarily delve into diverse narratives that explore the concepts of identity, memory, and geography within a changing socio-political African context.

Richard Mudariki

Collectors will have a rare opportunity to view and acquire the artist’s expansive and sought after 2018 canvas titled ‘Reform, Format, Scan’ created on location at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa during the artist’s residency fellowship in 2018. In addition to this the artist has produced another signature and satirical work for the event titled ‘At the Shebeen in Cape Town’. This painting is a reinterpretation of Édouard Manet’s ‘A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882). It captures the lively and intricate culture of the Shabeen, depicting a visual story that reflects both the past and present commentary on alcohol, politics, and societal dynamics in South Africa’s townships.

Mohau Modisakeng

In his large and iconic photograph titled ‘Diatola’ (2014), the Sowetan-born artist explores the idea of visual narrative. Citing the influence of his mother, a ‘prophetess’, his images invoke dreams and visions that become markers of a personal and collective memory intertwined with the violent legacies of South Africa’s troubled past and the resulting deep divides of the post-apartheid present. 

Justin Dingwall

Photographer and artist Justin Dingwall juxtaposes elements of contemporary African fashion photography with hand-made textile components, creating exquisite and intriguing portraits that reference and challenge past ethnographic images.

Tshepiso Seleke

Tshepiso Seleke, an upcoming photographer from Johannesburg, has captured the social and economic status of black lives in his series called ‘Sowetan’. The photos aim to give voice to the marginalised community where he lives and works. Through his pictures, Seleke shows solidarity with his subjects and portrays them as strong and sincere.

Jaco van Schalkwyk

In his painting, titled ‘Bleu de Hue’, Johannesburg-based artist Jaco van Schalkwyk presents the viewer with a large monochromatic landscape that explores the possibility of an otherworldly or alternate landscape – a subtle but timeous comment on the current state of man’s relationship to this place we call ‘home’. In conversation with Van Schalkwyk’s landscape paintings, award winning lens based artist Lien Botha presents photographic dioramas that investigate notions of preservation and display in the context of natural history museums.

Peter Eastman

The artist’s ongoing body of work, titled Deep Chine, which simply means deep valley or kloof, references a particular piece of land in the Southern Cape that he first visited during his childhood, a place he periodically returns to. The landscape of this specific area is always in flux as it grows, its fragile sandstone cliffs eroding and collapsing, subtly changing the same space upon each visit. Eastman’s paintings are done in two tones, a dark background and light foreground, and as such are in effect paintings of light reflected in this dark forested valley.

Tom Cullberg

The detailed panel paintings and hand-made objects of Swedish-born South African artist Tom Cullberg explore both fictitious story telling as well as real or recorded histories. With humour and wit his paintings consider processes of association and recognition in the reading of both private and public narratives. Housed in his now signature glass-fronted cabinets these installations reiterate a familiar form in art history: the cabinet of curiosity. That said, Cullberg’s installations hew to a more contemporary and impressionistic tradition of cabinets created by private individuals to enshrine personal experience.

Alexia Vogel

Alexia Vogel has been refining her signature visual language in her recent works. While her previous work was heavily influenced by floral and tropical motifs, her latest pieces have distilled these themes into a more abstract form. Her bold canvases and works on paper feature brushstrokes that hold significant meaning, and each mark made becomes an event in and of itself. Previously directed by her process, such as the spontaneous flow of paint on canvas and instinctual gestures, Vogel now brings the physicality and movement of paint to the forefront of her work.

Paul Senyol

Paul Senyol’s energetic and playful paintings are a crafted response to his wonderings through various land and cityscapes. The colours and textures of urban and natural environments inform his spontaneous practice in the studio where every material he uses – acrylics, pastels, ink, pencils and spray paint – is chosen for the particular mark it can contribute to a finished composition. 

Jo Hummel

Towards abstraction the work of British artist Jo Hummel is characterised by a painted and paper collaged surface on which she employs spontaneous variations of space, colour and form. Speaking about the making of the work, Hummel describes her chosen material (paper) as domestic and ephemeral. Her paintings are built up in layers and with joinery, often revealing fault lines and scars. For her the action of making is an essential ritual used to make sense of, and fuse her internal and external environments. 

Jennifer Morrison

Moving further into the realm of abstraction the paintings of London-based South African artist Jennifer Morrison project a preoccupation with colour, texture, form and the richness and flexibility of oil paint. They are unapologetically fierce in their celebration of the process of painting wherein the medium and method of their making is itself the message. Having explored the language of abstraction in painting for decades she is drawn to the relationship of one colour to another, mark making and the quality of brushstrokes. Morrison’s swirling, gestural marks are immediate and direct and challenge the viewers expectation of a painting: Telling a story is not her objective; it is the visual, emotional, intuitive impact and experience that is central to her practice.

Looking for more local art? Sign up to our weekly newsletter, here.