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Under the Milkwood Tree 2020 | The Henry George Gallery Johannesburg

The source material for this series of drawings was inspired by my love of nature and especially of trees.

I began working on it nearly 2 years ago having felt a real need to get back to my roots, to drawing as the medium for expression. I have used charcoal mainly, a substance that comes from trees when burnt, and have enjoyed working with that material to further carry the sense of ‘treeness’. I have attempted to imbue these trees with a feeling of power, majesty and steadfastness, sometimes even playfulness, which bring the contentment and peace that one seems to absorb as one walks among them.

For the past 15 years my main creative focus has dealt with the deconstruction of 3 dimensional mechanical objects. The drawn line has been pervasive and tends to run like a thread through my work even in those earlier, more mechanically based works. There it takes the form of drawing in space using wire and pieces of mechanical objects where typewriters, pianos and guns form the subject matter.

In the most recent of the drawings in this series, I have veered back towards a place of intersection between the mechanical and the hand drawn. This was initially prompted by having been given a box of glass negatives some of which, to my delight, dated back to 1929. Their very age gives them weight, lending them a sense of time and history, even mystery. I started experimentally scratching into the black substance (silver salts) which forms the negative image. The results are fascinating and have led me down a new path, the most recent in this collection of works, where I have drawn into and over photographic negatives creating very different impressions.

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