SASHA HARTSLIEF: New Works
Apr 21 – May 11, 2016
I am drawn to paint the light at lost and forgotten parts of day, to capture the contrast between a cool white wall in the evening and the elusive warmth spilling out from a window, to depict the almost tactile sense of edges that are lost in the shadows and emerge crisply into the light, to sketch the bare flicker of emotion on a stranger's face.
Everard Read is proud to present New Works, by Sasha Hartslief. The exhibition opens on the 21st April 2016 at the Cape Town gallery space.
Inspired by her surroundings, Hartslief continues to cement herself as one of South Africa’s most considered painters and this exhibition finds her in a contemplative mood. This intimate collection of oils on canvas showcase a broad survey of Hartslief’s world through portraits, cityscapes and rural scenes, juxtaposed in contrasting light. These are for the artist ‘disparate ideas, whose common thread is that they all arise from a striking visual moment, which arrests (the artist’s) attention and demands to be painted’.
Up close and intimate, young men or women are captured in ordinary daily rituals, demonstrating Hartslief’s ability to distil the internal psyche of her protagonists, even as she paints their “surface” and surroundings. Hartslief appears to paint the spaces within relationships and the depths of solitude that some of her subjects feel in their contemporary lives. Although we are not given names or details of those portrayed, we are drawn in by the intimacy and connection the artist has created within her worlds.
Cityscapes, often almost devoid of human forms, (City Lights, Storm Clouds, Sunshine and Impressions of Sunlight), capture urban living in a grey wintry palette. However, with the warm light filtering through the corner shops in Bus Stop or the wet streets with cars passing in City Lights, Hartslief captures the moody tonality of a cosmopolitan city, and somehow again hints at the humanity within - the city as exoskeleton that houses the human pulse. The grey, blue landscape also serves to reinforce the subjects in her portraits who are tucked warmly indoors, cosy under the glowing golden hue. Tender and considered in her approach, Hartslief successfully creates an atmosphere in her work by contrasting dark and light and invites us to develop a narrative through a profound connection with her lovingly painted muses.
Outdoor references continue with the inclusion of pastoral scenes featuring animals in their natural habitats. This completes a picture of objective wholesomeness. It is almost as if Hartslief is presenting a world that is at once familiar and ordinary and yet when presented by her deft hand becomes extraordinary, encouraging us to find satisfaction and resonance in the everyday. She would never prescribe though as that would spoil the audiences adventure….
People often ask me the meaning of my paintings, they want to know what a particular painting is "about", but I would never want to limit the viewers experience with anything as closed and final as an artist's intention or a particular narrative. Even though each painting depicts something objective, I feel that there is a mutable dimension buried in the light and mood which will strike each person differently, and that open element of interpretation is part of the joy of painting for me. So, it is best to look at my work without any specific idea or grid in mind, but rather void of thought, and inviting the painting to deliver you into your own world of imaginative experience.
The exhibition concludes 11th May 2016.
A portfolio is available upon request.
View downloadable Press Release here.