20 April 2018

GNOMON by NORMAN O’FLYNN A solo exhibition at WORLDART Gallery (54 Church Street, Cape Town) from 3 to 31 May 2018. WORLDART is pleased to present Gnomon, Norman O’Flynn’s newest solo exhibition, which furthers his investigation into work in acrylic on acrylic glass. The exhibition includes large-scale silk-thread tapestry work and announces a return to sculptural forms that have been dormant in the artist’s practice since the mid-2000s. Gnomon offers up a fresh batch of Timekeepers – the ongoing series of larger-than-life, layered portraits on acrylic glass. A tribe of unshakable observers, striking figures rendered in O’Flynn’s characteristic “repop” style, and for the most part covered in frenetic and portentous tattoo-like markings. The Timekeepers have come to play an admonitory role in O’Flynn’s oeuvre – they hold a mirror to the present moment, insinuating Baudrillard’s proposition that “the map that precedes the territory”; the representation that governs the real. In Gnomon, O’Flynn takes a few moments to pause and reflect, most clearly in Timekeeper 78 who, with her Magdalene-esque way, opens the series up to an additional role as gatekeeper of multiplicity in the future. Gnomon also sees O’Flynn deftly returning to sculpture in the form of an installation of rounded fertilitygod-like figures. The sculptures are aptly made from a mash-up of historical materials, such as Carrara marble that O’Flynn collected in Tuscany, and contemporary modes, such as 3D printing. The sculptures broaden the meditative potential introduced in this body of work, as remnants of a culture that has been obliterated – our own. These figures look both back and forward, containing in their voluptuousness the seeds of hope. The title of the show refers to the arm of the sundial that casts a shadow, thereby making it possible to tell the time. It also refers to a novel by Nick Harkaway, set in a future of distributed surveillance democracy, which ultimately goes awry. The reference fittingly propels O’Flynn’s work past pop and settles it in the company of cultural near-future imagineers. From the Greek gnomon, translating as ‘one that knows or examines’ – Gnomon sums up O’Flynn’s perceptive anxiety about our collective fast-pace toward an apocalypse and hints at an existence beyond it. Gnomon opens on Cape Town’s popular First Thursday’s on 3 May 2018. For more information contact Carlyn Strydom at or on 021 423 3075.

Warren Maroon