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Alexandra Karakashian: Unbecoming

Alexandra Karakashian: Unbecoming

SMAC Gallery presents Unbecoming, a solo exhibition of recent work by South African artist Alexandra Karakashian, featuring her signature style – a combination of used engine oil and traditional oil paint medium.

Working on both linen and paper in varying sizes, chance plays a vital role in allowing Karakashian’s process to unfold. Springboarding from landscape painting and formal abstraction, her practice engages her signature subdued-palette and subtly blurred subject matter that hints at various ambiguous forms. The resulting aesthetic reflects an intriguing atmosphere, evocative of the ‘calm after the storm’ where the beauty of decay and subtlety is at the forefront of one’s visual experience. Engagement with materials that are contentious in relation to human and environmental well-being serves to prompt a consideration of the shifting ways in which landscape can be perceived in the context of the contemporary social, political and ecological crises.

Reflecting on current issues of exile, mourning, migration and refugee status – ideas that are at the forefront of discourse around the Euro-African relationship – Karakashian explores the meta-narrative of various current and historical societies’ relationships to ‘landscape’, both in Southern Africa and further abroad.

The artist’s ability to draw from her family history and personal context of nationality, race and culture, to facilitate her artistic process of enquiry and discussion around broader issues is unique to her personal identity. While maintaining a deep understanding of the human experience, she manages to perceive her locality within a continuously shifting (South) African viewpoint.

Alexandra Karakashian was born in 1988 in Johannesburg, South Africa. She obtained a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town (2015). Notable awards include both the Judy Steinburg Painting Prize and the Simon Gerson Distinction Award (2012) and the Jules Kramer Music & Fine Arts Scholarship and MacIver Scholarship in 2013. That same year, Karakashian was named as one of ten ‘Young African Artists of the Year’ by Business Day Wanted Magazine, and in 2014 she was invited to the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens for the Talent’s Archive Project.

The exhibition runs till July 29, 2017.



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