Darkness and Wonder: New oil paintings by Grace Kotze

12 May - 31 May 2009

In this new collection of autobiographical oil paintings, Grace Kotze combines her technical mastery of the medium with a deep, intuitive reading of the languages of emotion.

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Drawing on the extremities of darkness and wonder that so often exist side by side, Kotze presents a body of work where a sense of foreboding coexists with the human spirit’s innate transcendental ability.

The artist reaches back into her memories as a young adult, as a mature child, at the age of her confrontation with self realisation, awareness of immortality, heightened insecurities and new responsibilities. In a single image, Kotse is able to depict emotions of delight and intrigue followed by confusion, fear and dread of responsibilities.

Kotze uses in Darkness and Wonder, the metaphors of the context of the natural history museum, a place that educates and celebrates the complexities, versatility and uniqueness of the natural world, yet often has a sense of apprehension. Glass cases house the bodies of taxidermy animals, pinned insects, empty eggs devoid of potential life and extinct species. Skeletons fill an often atmospheric and gloomy interior.

Kotze also explores, with a firm and controlled hand, the emotional possibilities of colour, mark and composition. She places enormous emphasis on the technical aspects of producing these works, and insists that the technical aspects carry as much meaning, and is open to as much interpretation, as the images they create. Kotze writes that “When I allow the vocabulary of my materials to take root, the real delight in the painting process comes into effect.”