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Friday, November 21, 2008


(Work by Bronwen Vaughan-Evans)

Bronwen Vaughan-Evans exhibiting at Bank Gallery.

Bank Gallery is proud to present Memento Mori, a solo exhibition by local Durban artist Bronwen Vaughan-Evans who has created an entirely new body of work, which looks at death and memory.

Vaughan-Evans’ work is created using a process of layering white gesso on top of black gesso to create a controlled surface in which the dark layer sits just beneath a thin, light skin and thereby alludes to a metaphorical weight beneath the surface of things. The images reference experiences both forgotten and remembered, and are created by sanding through the thin top layer to reveal the dark gesso beneath.

“Conceptually, my work is about excavation; this is reinforced by the removal of the surface to create the image. I work with imagery that interrogates both physical and emotional spaces, as these spaces shape our identities on a personal and socio-political level. Because gesso was used in icon painting and as a traditional Renaissance ground, it can be seen as a haloed surface. By cutting into or scarring this surface, I try to investigate not only the conceptual issues of unearthing my past, but also the traditions of western painting under which I have studied.”

Memento Mori is a Latin phrase that can be roughly translated as "Remember that you are mortal”. Traditionally a memento mori was a form of image created to remind the viewer that death is an unavoidable part of life, something to be prepared for at all times.

Vaughan-Evans writes “The works on the show refer as much to the small deaths or punctuations in life, which are catalysts for remembrance / reflection, as they do physical mortality. Here ‘death’ becomes a punctuation that allows us a moment of reflection. For me, it is in that moment that I feel a memory is born. Paradoxically, it is also at that moment that memory starts to degrade and we begin the process of archiving the details of an event. The whole never survives and a memory becomes an accumulation of details or moments.

“In these works the surface holds a trace of the process of erasing / degrading the image and the desire to retain the memory is mirrored by the effort to retain the surface. This new body of work can be seen as a transition between one mental space and another and as such is a collection of works that are reflective and in the process of becoming rather than resolved and definitive. The works consist largely of horizontal panels that allude to death or repose.”

Bronwen Vaughan-Evans received her Masters of Arts in Fine Arts in 1995 from the University of Natal (now University of KwaZulu-Natal), Pietermaritzburg. She obtained her Higher Diploma in Education in 1998 from the University of South Africa.

Vaughan-Evans has participated in numerous group exhibitions. In 2004 she had her first solo show entitled one zero one at the KwaZulu-Natal Society of Arts Gallery. Recently Bronwen Vaughan-Evans collaborated with Nontobeko Ntombela on a project entitled negotiated spaces also held at the KZNSA Gallery. Her latest solo show home is where the heart is opened at Gallery Momo in Johannesburg on June 12 2008. Vaughan-Evans lectures Senior Painting at the Fine Art Department of the Durban University of Technology. Her work is included in corporate, public and private collections both locally and internationally.

Memento Mori is on exhibition until December 6. Entrance to the exhibition is free and school and tertiary education parties are welcome.

Bank Gallery is situated at 217 Florida Road, Morningside, Durban. Contact 031 312 6911 or fax 031 312 6912, email: or visit