New Forms: A Study of Broken Parallels

New Forms: A Study of Broken Parallels
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From July 27 to August 16, 2017, Candice Berman Gallery will present New Forms: A Study of Broken Parallels, a solo exhibition of work by South African artist, Bevan de Wet. In de Wet’s previous work, he engaged with notions of displacement and belonging through depictions of the body. By focusing on the skin’s surface as a boundary, it could be mapped, patterned and deconstructed.

The artist is now exploring the body as a concept of space, exploring both land and water as bodies in themselves. The deconstructed elements that previously mapped out the body’s surface, almost like topographic maps, now expand beyond it, to form extensive spatial platforms. This allows for a new freedom beyond the confines of prescriptive figurative representation.

Within the language of landscape, water is a powerful force that acts as a builder and destroyer, an archetypal symbol of birth and life. Water is also essential in making paper, the primary medium that Bevan de Wet is working with.

The aim of this exhibition is to explore the materiality of this medium by engaging with its limitations and thresholds by saturating, tearing, folding and erasing the paper’s surface. In contrast to these controlled man-made processes, de Wet has allowed for an organic process to take place. Water is used as a carrier for pigments, incorporating its natural flow and evaporation to inform certain uncontrollable marks on the surface.

Throughout this body of work, Bevan de Wet has explored different tensions that have arisen. Firstly, the tension caused during the interaction of the paper with water, which causes it to warp and change shape. Secondly, an imposed structural tension that operates between the organic marks and the geometric forms, which sit on their surface.

A recurring geometric form is a circle. The circle is a Jungian archetype for the psyche: a symbol of eternity, wholeness and unity. It has no beginning or end. When combined with a square (the body archetype), it highlights the relationship and balance between the psyche and the body.

While the circle is eternal, the black circle alludes to the void, an absorber of light, a repressed shadow side. In Japanese philosophy, the void represents a connection to creative energy and spontaneity.

The exhibited drawings, prints, paintings and collages represent a process of unearthing identity and exploring its evolution. By working with a combination of structure and chance, the art allows for a vulnerable space that is both evocative and indefinite.

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