ABOUT ANN MARAIS
Practising artist, sculptor, curator, writer/critic for ceramic publications, selector, awards judge, workshop presenter, external moderator, teacher, lecturer, opening speaker, public speaker, occasional poet
Fellow of Ceramics SA
Western Cape Representative for the Corobrik National Ceramic Collection, Pretoria Art Museum – 2012 to present
“One could say that philosophically speaking and for one’s mental well being, there should be balance in one’s life. The tiresome or distressing should be ameliorated by positivity and lightness of being. So it is with the following artwork.
MEET MR OSCAR ONLINE AND MR LYTTLETON COVID
These two figures were sculpted during the course of an online workshop that I gave as an Invited Artist and Fellow of CSA, via a You Tube video that had been arranged by Ceramics Southern Africa Association to coincide with Women’s Month (August) events and celebrations. This workshop was originally intended to be a live demonstration but was cancelled because of the Covid 19 pandemic when South Africa was in lockdown under Level 4 restrictions.
Sometime after the two figures had been completed and fired, I placed them by chance together on a wood base. It was extraordinary the bond they created immediately! I could see that they were “friends” “meant to be together”. There was instant compatibility between them, as if they were business colleagues or something.
This phenomenon of interaction between the figures in my studio is a frequent occurrence. It is unplanned by me and is completely spontaneous – moving pieces around I just happen to put figures together and suddenly, there they are – having a “conversation”.
William Kentridge is quoted as saying
In a creative person’s studio ‘Silliness is given the benefit of the doubt’
This statement is important as it explains the freedom an artist has, to be alive to lateral ways of looking at objects, life or circumstances that are not always ‘normal’ or ‘conventional’. An artist needs to be consciously aware of new ways of looking, seeing and interpreting the world around them. They perceive notions, synergy and the invisible in the ether that don’t always make sense on a conscious level. So it is with the figures in my studio. I am ever alert to what is going on there on a subliminal level, no matter how invisible or silly it seems.
We give ourselves, children and pets, names to give them identity and provenance. I often give my sculptures names for these reasons. With an attitude of wry humour and the need for a bit of levity against the grim circumstances of the Corona virus pandemic we find ourselves in that necessitated my workshop being transformed from a physical event to a virtual event, it will not be difficult to understand the provenance for the names of Mr. Oscar Online and Mr. Lyttleton Covid! Neither will it be difficult to fathom their first names as reference to past literary luminaries in the arts worlds!
Ann Marais, Cape Town, November 2020