Friday, June 18, 2010

Riveting Knysna exhibition by Simon Stone

SIMON STONE EXHIBITION (Knysna Fine Art Gallery until the end of June).

“IF you want to start a South African art collection, begin with Simon Stone,” said late artist and food critic Braam Kruger.

It is an assessment shared by Trent Read of Knysna Fine Art, where 10 of Stone’s paintings have recently gone on display.

The artist’s work is typically in large format and is oft times executed with an admixture of collage and brush work. His paintings give one pause for thought and if one of the attributes of good art is that it should make you stop and think, then the oeuvre of this artist is awash with plaudits.

Perhaps the most visually compelling of the works on display is a piece called simply Red Painting in which a surfeit of images are plastered on to a crimson background, such that the mind is torn hither and thither on a whirligig of presumption, contemplation and wonder. What does a portrait of a woman adorned in a chador have to with a full-length female nude stepping out of a shower cubicle? Are these multiple identities, the stark portrayal of the alter ego or an affirmation of the much quoted declaration that the female of the species is deadlier than the male? And what do footprints in a snowdrift have to do with cityscapes and images of the built environment? But that is part of what the painting is all about – to look and learn and consider. Each to their own and this is the substance of much of Stone’s art. One can make of it what one will. Crocodile Painting is equally enigmatic and the other paintings at the exhibition are just as riveting.

By Timothy Twidle

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