GALLERIES: Pleasures of finding a more brutal truth

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Lamu Door Studies 1 by Gor Soudan. PHOTO | FRANK WHALLEY

Lamu Door Studies 1 by Gor Soudan. PHOTO | FRANK WHALLEY  

By Frank Whalley

Posted  Saturday, January 7   2017 at  12:47

In Summary

  • Beneath the superficial beauty of a piece of art — wrought with colour, form and composition — can be found a deeper meaning that only enhances our appreciation of the artist’s work and enriches our understanding.

Window grilles and those of ventilation ducts also attract the artist’s attention — and the power of his imagination — while other works celebrate the enclosure produced by rubbings of a steel cut-out that carries resonances of an igloo or a motorcycle helmet.

At least three of the 25 or so drawings are sliced and opened out — one of them like a side-hung window — so they enter the viewer’s space, creating an added closeness between artist and onlooker.

There are two sculptures; one a log lying in the corner of the gallery that we are left to admire for its quiet integrity, the other a long branch cut from high in a tree that Soudan has rubbed with graphite and then wrapped in a ribbon of rice paper, imprinting its features that he then augmented with sweeps of his trademark ink lines.

The paper is suspended loosely next to the branch, which has then been covered with hinges and screws and the two — the model and its erstwhile clothing — rebound and echo, each against the other.

It is in this work that Soudan’s twin passions — the enclosure of space and the methodology of the artistic process — become clear.

Here the enclosure is peeled back like raw skin, the imprint of the subject revealed and enhanced with new sets of gestural scripts and the process of its creation laid bare.

Frank Whalley runs Lenga Juu, an arts consultancy based in Nairobi.

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