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Wednesday, October 22, 2008


(“Starbust Monk”, oil on canvas, by Tracy Payne)

Kizo gallery and Michael Stevenson Contemporary Gallery present solo exhibition by Tracy Payne.

Kizo gallery in partnership with the Michael Stevenson Contemporary Gallery are proud to present, for the first time in Durban, a solo exhibition by celebrated Cape Town based artist Tracy Payne.

Titled Awaken, the exhibition is curated by a former Durbanite Yvette Dunn who left Durban two years ago. She currently works at the Michael Stevenson and brings a selection of works that the artist created over the last three years.

Amongst the many objectives of this exhibition is opening lines of communication between the city of Durban and Cape Town, a vision that is shared by both Kizo Galley and Michael Stevenson Gallery. This is what the artist says about her process of creation.

“Painting transcends word; it is my tool of investigation, my mode of expression and my vehicle for spiritual growth and development,” says Tracy Payne. “It is through this chosen medium that I hope to find a language that expresses the divinity that lies within us all and discover alternative utopian pathways to a more harmonious life.

“On reflection I see that I have been exploring the interrelationship of the yin (feminine energy) and yang (masculine energy) principles for most of my creative life. In the past I expressed the domination of yang over yin, both as an internal struggle between the masculine and feminine aspects within oneself as well as outwardly in terms of personal relationships to one another and our planet.

“I am not alone in recognizing that our world is out of balance – we have been living in a left-brain, male dominant society for centuries. I seek to heal the split between the two hemispheres of our brain, merging left and right, yin and yang, black and white, east and west, ultimately leading to oneness.

“In the circular floral paintings I return to my exploration of sacred geometry as well as begin to explore the chakra system as a template for transformation. Our chakras are psychic centres that lie along the axis of the spine as consciousness potentials. They are a set of portals between the inner and outer world. Each chakra is associated with a particular sound-vibration and color. The 7 chakras correlate to 7 colors of the rainbow, which in turn represent 7 vibratory modalities of human existence.

“My fascination with the Eastern spirituality again reflects my search for balance. For the large portrait paintings, I turned to the Shaolin Monks of China as a source of inspiration. When I watched Shaolin Wheel of Life on video for the first time, I was transfixed. Here were spiritual men, Zen Buddhists, and at the same time masters in the martial art of Kung Fu; a seeming paradox. Men so strong yet their bodies looked soft and their faces serene. They seem to embody the masculine principal, Sacred Yang, a perfect marriage of spiritual and physical. Essentially men of peace, for to initiate an attack is an aggressive act and an aggressive act is contrary not just to the spirit of Kung Fu, but also to life itself. They are true ‘warriors of light’ for they set out not to conquer others but rather use their physical strength in self-defense to protect that which is sacred. It was as if I’d found through these monks a new beginning with the masculine, a place of forgiveness and sacred appreciation.

“The portrait images exist in the space of meditation just prior to action, ‘the quiet before the storm” so to speak. I prepared the surface of the canvas by combing acrylic paste across the surface, thus creating a texture of ‘threads’. The painting process became more like weaving from left to right, right to left. The texture helped me capture the energetic vibration field of the monks, evoking the spiritual dimension of the physical realm.

“For me painting is an act of meditation. The act of painting calms me; it lowers my heartbeat and slows my breath. I can’t hold a conversation, eat or drink whilst I am painting. My focus is total and at best my thoughts cease. This is when I enter the present moment and am at one. I am constantly challenging myself through the technical skills of observation and execution to find a visual language for my souls yearning. The awakening of the personality to the potential of the soul. To awaken to ‘heaven’ on earth here, now”

Awaken, runs at the Kizo Art Gallery at Gateway until October 28. For more information, contact Kizo on 031 566 4322 and