Simon Stone (1952-)

Artwork by Simon Stone

Although he has been hailed as one of South Africa’s finest painters, relatively few critiques – compared to the texts devoted to his peers – have been written on his work. This may be attributed partly to the fact that he exhibits infrequently; but, more beguilingly, the paucity of written documentation may have equally as much to do with the reasons to which I have alluded above: Stone’s work, although accessible, does not lend itself to tidy exegesis. In her 1992 review of his solo exhibition at the then recently inaugurated ERC,  Anthea Bristowe perceptively described his streetscapes as “fragments of reality that run through his work like arteries.” I subsequently interpreted his imagery, not as streetscapes but, rather, escapes… Today I would venture further to say that they are Stone’s caves, serving as repositories for his austere, banal, erotic or free-flying forms, which are “stored’ or preserved on canvas and protected from the decay that afflicts the rest of life, love and materiality. Sure, it’s possible to delve deep into the psycho-semantics of the tomb-womb symbolism of these painterly caverns. But getting within Stone’s throw entails relinquishing the desire for cohesive comprehension, and immersing oneself, rather, in the ebb and syncopated flow of a world of whimsy and wistfulness – where mundaneness, madness, meaning and beauty coalesce. A graduate with distinction from Michaelis in 1976, Stone has already exhibited widely, alongside Gail Caitlin, Robert Weinek, Braam Kruger, William Kentridge and other luminaries of South African contemporary art. Back in the Autumn of ’96 He was already something of a cult hero, reluctantly so, it would seem, from the glowering response I received to my request for an interview. His willful muteness, broken by unexpected spurts of eloquence are both symptom and consequence of the symbiosis between Stone and his work. We tend to be more comfortable with coherent big ideas. Stone’s images, recurring motifs and painterly talismans are parts of more parts of parts. As simple and complex as that.- by Hazel Friedman

BORN •    1952 Lady Grey, Cape Province, RSA EDUCATION •    1979 Study of Renaissance Art, Italy •    1976 Michaelis School of Art, South Africa COLLECTIONSSimon Stone’s work forms part of several collections worldwide and selected corporate collections: Alexander Forbes, Mobil Oil, Anglo American Collection, Pendock Collection, Johannesburg Art Gallery, SA National Gallery, Gencor, UNISA and the University of the Witwatersrand SOLO EXHIBITIONS •    2007 Small works, Knysna Fine Art, Knysna •    2006 Recent works, UCT Irma Stern Museum, Cape Town •    2004 Recent Oil Paintings, Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg •    2002 Recent Oil Paintings, Simon Mee Fine Art in conjucntion with Knysna Fine Art, London, UK •    2001 Some Recent OIl Paintings & 29,000 Works on Paper, Knysna Fine Art, Knysna •    2000 Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg •    2000 Small works, Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town •    1996 Painting from Under the Skin, Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg •    1993 Recent works on paper •    1992 Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg •    1989 Cassirer Fine Art, Johannesburg •    1987 Karen McKerron Gallery, Johannesburg •    1985 Karen McKerron Gallery, Johannesburg •    1983 Market Gallery, Johannesburg •    1978 Fabian Fine Art, Cape Town

TWO PERSON EXHIBITIONS •    1988 With William Kentridge, Gallery International, Cape Town •    1988 Exhibition of combined works executed by Braam Kruger and Simon Stone, SAAA, Pretoria and Potchefstroom •    1987 With Margaret Vorster, NSA, Durban

GROUP EXHIBITIONS •    2008 Intermit distance, Iziko South African National Gallery •    2008 Modern and Contemporary art, Then now and beyond, Polokwane Museum •    2004 10 Years Democracy, Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg •    2003 The Ampersand Foundation, 1997 to 2003, Warren Siebrits Contemporary Art •    2002 Art for AIDS Orphans Auction, Cape Town •    1998 GAROB (the dry land), Knysna Fine Art, Knysna •    1997 – 1998 CYST, Works in Paint, travelling exhibition, Cape Town & Johannesburg •    1997 Opening exhibtion, Knysna Fine Art, Knysna •    1996 Common and Uncommon Ground, South African Art Atlanta, Georgia •    1995 Panoramas of Passage, Changing Landscapes of South Africa, Meridian International Centre, Washington DC •    1994 Displacements: South African Works on Paper 1984 to 1994, Mary & Leigh Blok Gallery, Northwestern University, USA •    1994 State of the Art, Everard Read Gallery •    1992 Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg •    1991 Triennial, Cape Town •    1988 DPSC Exhibition, Market Gallery, Johannesburg •    1988 Triennial, Cape Town •    1987 The Portrait, UNISA •    1987 Alternative Art, The Netherlands •    1986 Volskas Atelier •    1986 Portraits, Johannesburg Art Foundation

•    1986 Zululand Arts Festival, UZ •    1985 Opening of Gallery, Johannesburg Art Foundation •    1985 Triennial, Cape Town •    1993 The Wits Lecturers Exhibition, Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg •    1980 Olivetti Art Opening, Johannesburg •    1980 South African Art, Gaborone, Botswana AWARDS •    1997 Ampersand Foundation, New York Award •    1986 Merit Art Awards, Volkskas Atelier •    1976 Irma Stern Scholarship