Subliminal Sublime|Subliminaal Subliem
Subliminal Sublime, my debut solo exhibition, formed part of the visual arts program for the University of Stellenbosch Woordfees (Litereary Arts Festival) curated by Alex Hamilton. The central theme of the visual art program was Kennis (Knowledge) inspired by the Afrikaans encyclopedia from the 70's by the same name. Around 370 individual hand carved/printed/cutout linocuts were used in the production of this exhibition. Each of these works have been assembled in relief, breaking from the traditional 2D printed surface, and are one-off artworks.
This body of work takes as its point of departure the tradition of coding messages with flowers. This was particularly popular in the Victorian Era, and the popularity of the coded bouquets resulted in the production of many dictionaries on the subject of floral symbolism. There was, however, no standardisation of the subject often resulting in conflicting meanings being ascribed to particular flowers. Here the idea of a coded system of communication (or language) is both inclusive and exclusive, as one must have knowledge of the code in order to decipher it. Communication, and the propensity for miscommunication and misinformation is, therefore, a key theme in this body of work.
I draw much from art historical references, in this case from the Dutch still-life tradition of the 16th and 17th centuries. This body of work is introspective, using the concept of Memento Mori (remember we must die) of the Vanitas paintings in conversation with the visual apparatus of Horror Vacui (nature abhors a vacuum) to reflect on society, our search for meaning in life, and the ‘noise’ of living.
My choice of printmaking as medium employs the use of a printing press, the invention of which marked a major paradigm shift for society enabling the mass dissemination of information, which colours every aspect of society today. However, I break from traditional printmaking here. Rather than producing an edition from my plates or blocks, I use the mechanical reproduction of the press to allow me to build rich textured layers and explore the use of pattern as metaphor.