|Cobus van Bosch|
'Stukkies' at Artspace
by Kresta Tyler Johnson
Three artists have been grouped together for the current exhibition at Artspace under the thematic banner of "Stukkies". A synthesising descriptive to harmonise the works, the title of the show completes its task and allows a particular serenity to prevail.
Initially the work of JP Meyer and Cobus van Bosch may not seem well paired with that of Varenke Paschke, but her use of patterning and layers provokes additional questioning in the obsessively repetitive surfaces of Meyer's paintings or the grooves and constructions of Van Bosch's constructed bone surfaces.
There is a commercialised pastiche to the work of Paschke, who gained a fair amount of acclaim for tutoring Nelson Mandela with his sketching and assistance in the production of the Robben Island series of prints. Her work has a decorative quality and the bold colours of fabrics are methodically appliquéed with dots.
It is this patterning that offers the only real similarity to the other two artists' work. Meyer and Van Bosch's works are more transcendental in nature. The deliberate and precise strokes and markings of Meyer's paintings are engaging and ethereal. He toys with the dimensions of the canvas, creating four large, perfectly square paintings and seven, narrow, vertical paintings. All are intricately executed.
Van Bosch's work demands close attention: it is quite spectacular how he has managed to manipulate bone. Some works are created with constructed bits of bone, softened and contoured to create an angular topography. The opposite of these pieces are nearly identical works with slight colour variations. But, these have been constructed with cast bone dust instead of the actual element.
I was most enamoured with a smooth surfaced piece, Untitled: from the memorial series, that was created with a square/rectangular patterning of bone. These meditative abstractions offer a multitude of ideas particularly if one engages with and realises the specific medium of their production.
The exhibition as a whole is worth a visit if only to form your own impression of three artists not often seen in Gauteng. The one drawback regarding Artspace is its location: it is a bit of an adventure to find, but a pleasant respite once you find it.