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Sunday, May 24, 2009


(Pic: “Darkness and Wonder: Insect Collection” - oil on canvas by Grace Kotze)

New oil paintings by Grace Kotze at the KZNSA Gallery.

Darkness and Wonder: Insect Collection is the title of an exhibition by Grace Kotze running at the KZNSA Gallery.

In this new collection of autobiographical oil paintings, the artist combines her technical mastery of the medium with a deep, intuitive reading of the languages of emotion. Drawing on the extremities of darkness and wonder that so often exist side by side, she presents a body of work where a sense of foreboding coexists with the human spirit’s innate transcendental ability.

Grace Kotze reaches back into her memories as a young adult, as a mature child, at the age of her confrontation with self realisation, awareness of immortality, heightened insecurities and new responsibilities. In a single image, she is able to depict emotions of delight and intrigue followed by confusion, fear and dread of responsibilities.

In Darkness and Wonder, she uses the metaphors of the context of the natural history museum, a place that educates and celebrates the complexities, versatility and uniqueness of the natural world, yet often has a sense of apprehension. Glass cases house the bodies of taxidermy animals, pinned insects, empty eggs devoid of potential life and extinct species. Skeletons fill an often atmospheric and gloomy interior.

Grace Kotze also explores, with a firm and controlled hand, the emotional possibilities of colour, mark and composition. She places enormous emphasis on the technical aspects of producing these works, and insists that the technical aspects carry as much meaning, and is open to as much interpretation, as the images they create. “When I allow the vocabulary of my materials to take root, the real delight in the painting process comes into effect,” she says.

Darkness and Wonder runs at the KZNSA Gallery until May 31. The KZNSA Gallery is situated at 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, in Durban. More information on 031 277 1703, fax 031 201 8051 or cell 082 220 0368 or visit