Jan 25 2008
The water grid – Varenka Paschke

The water grid – Varenka Paschke

Speaking of art objects: what is contemporary, exciting, visually pleasing and essentially young at heart? And presented with a gentle yet disciplined hand, making you wonder what it is that holds your gaze; all of it produced locally, with a sense of global appeal?

 

No surprises here if the name of Varenka Paschke falls along the line…

 

A week-long Cape Town preview of Paschke’s work is sure to whet the appetite for her coming summer exhibition in Jo’burg. From 12 to 18 November the Worldart gallery in Church Street will be offering Capetonians the opportunity to view new works by this young but already well-established talent. Soon afterwards the paintings will moving on to Worldart’s recently openend sister gallery in Commissioner Street, right in the hub of the revamped Jo’burg city centre where the exhibition will be on view from 29 November to 25 January.

 

In her short career Pashke has been remarkably successful, as proved by her nomination as a finalist for the Absa young artist of the year. Since she completed her studies at the Michaelis Art School in 2001 (after graduating in fine arts, psychology and drama at other universtities!), she has participated in various solo and group exhibitions in South Africa and abroad. In Switzerland, for instance, she exhibited with Marlene Dumas and other well-known artists. Over the past few years the multi-talented Paschke has also contributed to a variety of arts projects, while executing numerous private and public commissions. In London she created murals for a number of classy hotels. And back home she tutored Nelson Mandela while he was preparing his Robben Island series. Her wide field of interest and unlimited initiative took her to Mexico in 2003, where apart from working and travelling for five months, she was involved with the production of a short film.

 

For her upcoming exhibition this innovative artist has covered squares with a variety of materials, which she then assembled as units to serve as canvases for oil paintings. The end products vary considerably in many respects, but could be summed up as mainly figurative works in a contemporary idiom, sometimes entering into a dialogue with illustration work, and even taking on a  partly digital character. In some cases mosaic designs  and floral patterns are integrated with figurative elements. The presentation remains stimulating and fresh, and social commentary is often embedded in an array of decorative forms and shapes. Especially the subtle application of colour, line and light is highly favoured, which may well contribute to Paschke’s works often finding their way to private and corporate collections.

 

With this solo exhibition the existing enthusiasm for this artist’s individualistic style is bound to grow. Her work is imaginative and striking in more than one way, firmly rooted in the wiles and charms of  Paschke’s charismatic hand.

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