Ordinary subjects perhaps, but this is no ordinary exhibition. These artists are seasoned veterans and we have come to expect great things from them. Their new works do not disappoint. Despite the distinct differences in subject there is a common theme running through all the work - they are interested in the subtleties of the human psyche and spirit. The horses speak to the vulnerability and fragility of the human soul, the faces to the power of the unconscious and the divers to freedom and the life force we all share.
Chandler's inspiration emerged from a road trip to the Karoo where she was struck by the empty spaces and the feeling of abandoned places - once sites with history and home to families. The sense of stillness and contemplation was for her a metaphor of the fragility and transitory nature of life. The symbolic meaning of horses dates back to prehistory. Due to their natural companionship with man in both work and art, the horse is an emblem of our life-force. Traditionally the horse is associated with power, victory and virility. Chandler has chosen to invert these symbols and depicts her horses as fragile and vulnerable - they teeter in space on stick-like legs. She is interested in the skeletal architecture of their anatomy. They appear constructed in an industrial kind of way rather like the residue of a building construction site. They are not (as are many horse paintings) romanticized. Her technique enhances this ‘mechanicalness'. A thick painting medium is used in a sculptural way burnished to produce a patina more akin to sculpture. This layering and choice of monochromatic tones gives the horses an ethereal, unearthly quality and hence a quiet, moody soulfulness that speaks to our common and collective humanity.
Meijer paints faces that are departures from traditional portraiture. Her interest lies in inventing variations and exploring expressive effects rather than mere depictions. Details become blurred through manipulation of the medium often to the point of abstraction. What is captured is the subtlety and enormous range of human emotion that makes each of us unique yet sharing a common humanity. She abandons the realistic photographic images and chooses a new way of ‘seeing' with the minds eye - a process of inward introspection and intuition that gives these works their unique power to move and engage with the viewer. Four distinct series are presented. Firstly a myriad of small (almost miniature) digital prints then large acrylic on paper, smaller digital prints that are deconstructed and finally a haunting series of ‘death masks'.
Pletts has produced a series of male figure studies in the form of swimming pool divers. Figures are her favorite subject and she was drawn to the divers for their movement and the sense of floating in space. The figures are depicted balancing on diving boards and flying high in aerial gymnastics. She paints in her characteristic bold and gutsy way with fresh painterly strokes that magically combine to interpret the subtleties of human flesh. But there is more. The divers exist in the vacuum of space lending them a curiously existential feel. They are about being, being human, being free, and being courageous. They are also undeniably sensual - erotic almost - this not only because they are naked save for the quintessential black speedo but because her technique is so physical, so tactile. Each brush stroke is a record of the power of the human hand, rather like an archaeological remnant of the act of touching. This is contrasted with the crisp, clean blues that surround them. Water is universally symbolic of the unconscious and whilst she does not depict the pools themselves we are left with the impression that ‘what goes up must come down' and that the divers occupy the precarious position of being between the safety of terra fima and the uncertainty of the water below them. The divers are anonymous, faceless. Pletts's interest lies in their universality and common humanity a theme which unites the work with her fellow exhibitors.