‘MODERN MASTERS III’, 01 AUG – 31 AUG 2019

Modern Masters III at Ebony Curated is a visual tour along a timeline of Modern and Contemporary South African Masters. This third outing, curated by Marc Stanes, includes an early abstract work by Edward Wolfe. Wolfe was born in Johannesburg and later moved to England where he became an exhibiting contributor to the Bloomsbury Group. His first exhibition with the Omega Workshop was in 1920. The workshop was the decorative arts chapter of the Bloomsbury Group and its graphic ethos can be seen in the simplified shapes and bold colours of the work titled “Abstract Still Life in Interior”. Wolfe remained in England (while also exhibiting in Johannesburg and Cape Town from time to time) and was elected as an Associate Member of the Academy in 1967 and a Member in 1972. His work is held in the permanent collections of the Iziko South African National Gallery, Tate, Royal Academy and National Portrait Gallery as well as many private collections throughout the world.

George Diederick During is represented by two works – “The Carthorse”, painted between 1946-1959, and “Woman Feeding Duck”, executed in 1981. The first painting is an artistic tribute to the work of the Expressionists which had become familiar to world audiences in the first half of the twentieth century. The second work is in the artist’s more recognisable later style where he employed a hard-edged style of painting while continuing his commentary on the people of South Africa. In this where the woman is seeing feeding the ducks, she is resting her right hand on her back — all part of the daily grind in which she is party too.

David Mogano’s watercolour, “Forty Six Street Kliptown Township JHB”, auspiciously dated 1976, provides a view into Township life in the 1970s – camaraderie, poverty, and survival are all presented within this composition. Another notable mention is the work titled “Abstract” by Charles Gassner. This frenetic work pulses with an energy which speaks to the changing political climate at the time in South Africa (1959). Once represented by Louis Schachat of Die Kunskamer, Gassner later adorned many homes in Cape Town with his still life works and charcoal drawings. The exhibition also includes works from William Kentridge whose first major exhibition in South Africa opens later this month at both the Zeitz MOCAA and Norval Foundation. The quorum of the exhibition is completed with the inclusion of Erik Laubscher, Alfred Neville Lewis, Deborah Bell, Leonard Tshehla Mohapi Matsoso, Robert Hodgins, Sidney Goldblatt, Peter Clarke and Caroline van der Merwe.

– Phillippa Duncan, 2019

Works on Exhibition