Nina Torr and Allen Laing: The Way Back
From October 25 to November 25, 2017, Loop 99 Gallery, Cape Town will present The Way Back, a joint exhibition by Nina Torr and Allen Laing. The strange figures in Torr’s intimately-scaled paintings journey across desolate landscapes, under dark skies. These undefined, liminal spaces function as internal landscapes, with the creatures serving as figurations of the roles we play, and our relationships.
Their destination is unclear – Torr is focusing on the journey itself and how these beings (or we) deal with our circumstances and navigate new roles. Nothing about the works is prescriptive, though, there is a strong sense of ambivalence in the paintings, seen in the calmly enigmatic expressions of the subjects, whether a lamb, a blue-striped tiger or hooded humanoid.
Laing’s ritualistic sculptural inventions explore ways in which we can respond to and reflect on the daily struggles we face, as we interact with our environments. His collaged wooden masks in this exhibition are mirrored in Torr’s paintings, concealing the faces of some of her subjects; an intuitive reference to identify formation and how we alter ourselves to interact with the different people around us.
Torr attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Parsons School of Design in New York, 2010 and returned to South Africa to work as an artist and arts educator. She has exhibited in group and solo shows in South Africa.
Laing graduated from the University of Pretoria with a Fine Arts degree and specialises in mixed media sculptures with machine aesthetic. He is one of the founding members of Found Collective, a collective for collaboration and promotion of the arts in Pretoria. His works explore the loss of culture and ritual in our mass-produced consumerist society.
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