Cobus van Bosch  

From the Cape Times
March 2004


Visual memories provocatively posed

Exhibitions: COBUS VAN BOSCH and ARLENE AMALER-RAVIV at the AVA Gallery, Church Street. Until March 27.


MEMORY and its metaphors - in the one instance, personal and anecdotal, in the other, institutional and contemplative - underpin these two individual explorations. Amaler-Raviv takes a painterly route; Van Bosch is more densely conceptual.

Both deliver on that engagement with singular visual imagery.

In his previous shows, Van Bosch has chartered a dogged route of inquiring, questioning and confronting local and South African history and its perceptions in his, at times very personal, art.

He has worked hard to show how the very ordinary can be uncovered as monuments, memorials or significant markers of the past.

Working from a solid conceptual base - in this instance, how landscape is endowed with meaning as topography of battle and bloodshed - and, typically, employing unusual means and materials, here, animal bones fragments used as mosaic - the resulting pieces are loaded with argument.

As usual, his work is highly finished, with "craft" operating as a kind of irony to the l'art povera material. But that might be a predicament here.

Visually, the works are taxing, coming across rather blandly despite the obvious effort, and requiring much from the titles and actual history they represent.

Amaler-Raviv, on the other hand, has a seemingly suave, easy way with making pictures - and they jump into one's awareness: cryptic visual parables, dense and loaded, but quickly accepted and understood by the onlooker's eyes, mind and memory.

Especially in the little quirky canvases where she seems to meander through a personal syllabus of small stories, a dash or two of urban humour and pierced emotions, one senses an elegant control. She moves easily and confidently in post-modern painterly fashion from one little narrative to the next.

A canvas such as Children Don't Stop Dancing  is simply completely satisfying. It's the kind of original visual yarn that just connects, the kind of memory one wants to share.

From the series Memorial (bone fragments).

From the series Memorial (bone fragments).