SOAK – Solo show by Marlise Keith
Adding final touches to series of artworks for a Paris exhibition, with another collection taking shape for viewing at Cape Town’s Worldart Gallery, Marlise Keith finds herself in a creative whirlpool. Luckily she is in the habit of living like a sponge, constantly soaking up, storing and processing the details of her day-to-day experiences.
“I’m constantly shuffling things around in my head. The fact that I find it impossible to concentrate on one thing at a time, obviously works to my advantage. I seem to collect everything that crosses my path: colours, textures, smells, moods, feelings, faces, body language, or even a split-second judgement of something or somebody.” For Keith, this is her point of departure. Her work originates from the “soak” that has become a way of life, allowing her to brood on whatever has fascinated her, until she can satify the urge to transform it into a work of art. As the content is being processed or recycled by means of free play and association, it becomes visible as a work of art in progress. Unexpected links are formed between seemingly disparate images, and new meanings are foregrounded according to Ms Keiths’ personal sign system. Visual impressions seem to be entering into a dialogue as they grow and feed on each other, layering themselves into new streams of consiousness which in turn give rise to unexpected images and compositions.
Ink and gesso on board are the media used for a series of paintings that also hint at the art of drawing. From smaller pieces to unusually large works, they all promise to stimulate the imagination while offering an aesthetic experience. Viewers are cajoled into making multitude of interpretations while savouring beauty for its own sake. The content may be relevant and topical, inspired by the artist’s strong awareness of contemporary experiences of womanhood – although Keith does not pose as a torch bearer for any particular cause. In other instances the work springs from a need to experiment and have fun, but most often these elements complement each other.
From 3 to 30 April, afficionados of high quality contemporary art may share Keith’s fantasies when her latest Pandora’s chest is openend at Worldart in Church Street. There’s magic in the way Keith manages to coax viewers into suspending the bounds of their familiar contexts, persuading them to join her as she explores different ways of looking and understanding, and enjoying the trip. The exhibition is titled “Soak”, and for good reason, indeed.
Artist: Marlise Keith
Title of show: Soak
Venue: Worldart Gallery, 54 Church Street, Cape Town cbd
Dates: 3 April – 30 April 2009
Hours: Monday to Friday 10am – 5pm and Saturday 10am -1pm. Closed on Sundays.