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Saturday, August 23, 2014


(Joan Martin, Fragment of work in progress, “The Monument” mixed media and “Nurtured”, mixed media on board by Lara Mellon)

An exhibition by Joan Martin and Lara Mellon titled Understory opens at the KZNSA Gallery on August 26.

The term Understory not only refers to plant life that grows beneath the forest canopy, but is a metaphor of the urban forest of Durban in this exhibition.

The two artists explain the inspiration for the exhibition:

“Plants in the understory often don't reach their full growth because sunlight is blocked by larger surrounding trees. Despite this, the plants can adapt and survive.

The response results from each of our own personal stories of our connection and disconnection in the context of contemporary South Africa and addresses themes of belonging and longing by investigation of both physical and metaphorical layers that exist in the process of making art.

Through a dissection of universal and personal memories, embracing fantasy and direct observation, at times, images and ideas are allowed to emerge from their shadowy burrows into the light.

This exhibition is an exploration of our own and shared experience of understory through a combination of oil painting and assemblages using found objects and untraditional materials.”

Understory will be opened by Jenny Stretton, senior curator from the Durban Art Gallery, on August 26 at 18h00 (complimentary sherry on arrival and cash bar).

There will be three walkabouts:

August 30 at 11h00: Walkabout by Melanie Wilson, Visual Arts Educator/Workshop Facilitator/Owner of Drawn to Walls (hand-painted wall design/wallpaper/murals) artist.

September 6 at 11h00: Walkabout from a psychological perspective with Estelle Hudson, Narrative and Family Therapist.

September 13 at 11h00: Walkabout from an artist perspective with Anna de Vlieg, artist and art teacher “The Art of Conversation through Collaboration”

Understory runs until September 13 at 12 noon. 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