LOUISE MASON: Unravel
Apr 10 – May 4, 2019
Everard Read Cape Town is pleased to present Cape Town artist Louise Mason’s first solo Unravel.
Opening on the 10th of April, the exhibition runs until 4th May.
“There is no there, there.” – Gertrude Stein
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” – J.M. Barrie
For Stellenbosch-based artist Louise Mason, the creative process has always been a way of making sense of the world and her place within its vastness. For Mason, travel is a means to contextualise herself and, inspired by a journey to Jaipur in 2018, her latest solo exhibition at Everard Read Cape Town, Unravel, is in recognition of these life-long considerations.
“To the uninitiated traveller, such as myself,” she observes, “Jaipur is a conundrum. I was particularly overwhelmed by the chaos but, on further engagement, I realised that people managed to create their own oases of calm through daily rituals and focused activities. There is within us all the ability to transcend the challenges we face in life, whatever their nature.”
Within Unravel, the city works are an abstraction from pandemonium into pattern, and a celebration of the beauty of unavoidable urban busyness discovered through both immersion and observation. Abstracted shapes in the skylines, which suggest chaotic confetti from a distance, emerge as creatures and objects to suggest a degree of fantasy and quizzical playfulness in the scenes. In the dream-like forms of the kites (in the shape of a mermaid, a bear, a jellyfish) there is a nostalgic dip into the subconscious, in order to untangle the strings of our conscious lives.
In these paintings there is a duality of calm and chaos, of forms and freedom. In contrast to the jostling unruliness of everyday city life, Mason turns also to the natural world and the border between human and wild territories. She draws on the concept of flight, especially as a means of escape. The change from the horizontal scale to the vertical provides a change in perspective – imperative for making sense of the world. Kites on the beach, wild murmurations of birds, swarms of butterflies – these also provide a purely aesthetic reprieve in the joyous beauty of the spectacle: the colours, shapes and movement. The palette with striking colour contrasts reflects this liveliness.
As Mason comments, “The playful spirit that exists between my shapes and the colours are for me like a dance across a flat colour of sky or sea or landscape.” There is in this, and in the gestural brush strokes, a strong sense of kinetic energy. This visual journey from one painting example to the next gives us both pause to reflect and ambitions to follow the artist on her quest to move more freely into the future by unravelling the past and present.