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Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Director of Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg, appears on Cape Town photographic exhibition.

Appearing at Art at Tokara at the Tokara Winery, Lens Magic forms part of the City of Cape Town’s “Month of Photography”. Among the photographers exhibiting are Pietermaritzburg’s Tatham Art Gallery director Brendan Bell whose work appears alongside that of Andrew Barker, Brendan Bell, Jac de Villiers, Michael Hall, Obie Oberholzer, Inge Prins and Roger Young. Their varied techniques and interpretation of their subject matter offer an exceptionally interesting exhibition.

Andrew Barker and Obie Oberholzer use traditional photographic methods, relying on technique and interpretation to create images that capture the spirit of the subject. They do not manipulate their images in any way - the ambient light is their prime tool added to their particular way of perceiving the world.

Obie Oberholzer’s arresting self-portrait Visual Thug (l) illustrates his view that, given the number of images which bombard us daily, he intends his work to “make people stop for a moment, become inquisitive and to have a second look at the image.”

Whereas Obie’s juxtaposition of imagery confronts his viewer, Andrew Barker’s work (r) searches for the innate beauty of his subject.

In contrast, the works by Brendan Bell and Inge Prins experiment with still life. Bell digitally manipulates his own photographs to create new, fantasy environments, inhabited by objects we know, many of which refer to aspects of South African history. After obtaining the degrees of BA Fine Art and MA (History of Art) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Bell became involved in education and curatorial work at art museums. He is currently.

He restarted art making in the late 1990s, working with gouache and collage at his kitchen table. A number of research trips to Sweden for a project on the Rorke¹s Drift Art and Craft Centre led him to revisit his domestic environment, resulting in numerous digital photographs and ideas. His 'constructed collages' are computer-generated digital images which attempt to extract order and meaning from cultural and sensory overload.

Prins' smoke series is like a meditative poem on the passing of time and the subtlety of light, as if the smoke is photographed as still life – a moment in a fleeting existence is captured by her lens.

Highly respected photographer Jac de Villiers says, “Photography is a magical process, whether the picture is digitally or chemically produced.” He is exhibiting six images calledRestaurant at the end of the world, which depict the dignity of 'arid life'.

Roger Young is fascinated by rural South Africa and wherever he finds himself on his travels, he engages with people and places. His evocative images seem to summon collective memory in people whose home this land is, while providing empathetic insight for viewers to whom the scenes are foreign.

Michael Hall is interested in narrative photographic sequences, aiming to encourage his viewers to ask questions about what humans are doing to harm our planet. His Fear evokes memories of political protest and necklacing and also symbolises pollution and the degradation of the environment.

Tokara Winery is situated at the crest of the Helshoogte Pass, Stellenbosch. Lens Magic runs until November 23. More information on 011 788-0820 or from Julia Meintjes on 083 675-1825 or email or