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JMFA and Caversham Centre

On our flight from Cape Town to Durban, Beth and I shared a row with an art consultant and curator from Johannesburg, Julia Meintjes. Julia was making her way home with a brief stop in Pietermaritzburg (where Beth is staying for three months) for an opening at the Municipal Art Gallery that evening. We generally don't harass row-mates on planes, but we got to talking with Julia -- stealing her attention from the talk she was putting together -- and discovered that the work in P-burg is a traveling show that has just returned from Boston University: '25 Years of Caversham Press.'

 Julia invited us along and introduced us to Malcolm Christian, the brains and soul behind the Caversham operation: the first fine art printing press in South Africa and, in recent years, a center for artists who have less access to the mechanisms and exposure of the connected 'art world.' Much of this latter work is laden with South African specific political and social content that is more opaque to an outsider like myself, however, the work is technically rigorous and beautiful. I am more drawn to prints from artists who defined Caversham in the early years including: William Kentridge, Deborah Bell and Robert Hodgins, who is so clever and awesome. His print 'Twin Cigars' was by far our favorite piece in the show.

 We were intrigued by Malcolm's range of projects and collaborations; his work with botanist and illustrator Elsa Pooley is especially relevant to Beth's interests and the overall premise of her stay in South Africa. At the opening Malcolm invited us to Howick to see the converted church and cemetery that have been carefully expanded and woven into the center's narrative and Malcolm's life. According to Malcolm, visiting artists are often spooked when they open their blinds and discover the picturesque tombstones in the gardens that surround the cottages. Malcolm is a very gracious person and we will no doubt keep in touch.
Click the image for a view of:
Click the image for a view of:
Click the image for a view of: Beth and Malcolm
Beth and Malcolm


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Posted: 2016/02/01 (11:00:12 AM)

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