For David Griessel this exhibition is a visual presentation of a lifelong obsession with trees. Ever since Griessel was little he has been captivated by the labyrinthine constellations of tree canopies around him. This fascination has never led to a truly scientific study of trees and plant life, but rather an aesthetic and almost spiritual appreciation. Therefore as an artists and especially an artist who works within the realm of the fantastical, he has taken imaginary liberties with his depiction of the natural world. Many of species of fynbos and trees showed in this exhibition really exist (you can see some in Kirstenbosch and others in The Karoo) but he has blurred the lines between humanity, spirituality and the secret life of trees.
Forests and plant life have always held an important place in humanity’s psyche and this can be seen in the way arboreal themes are featured in religions and myths dating back to archaic civilizations. Many cultures (especially early ‘pagan’ religions) included tree inspired motifs and symbols in their liturgical practices and texts. The figure of the earth mother, Gaia is also a recurring figure in legends, myths and religions and worship of this deity pre-dates the great monotheisms. Contemporary fascination with trees and nature is also prominently manifested in Jungian psychoanalytic practice, where holistic well-being is often allegorized in a tree diagram. These examples are mere pinpricks in the rich history of tree-culture and our exhibition tap into this rich past which can act as a source of limitless creative inspiration. A recurring theme in Griessel’s body of work for this exhibition is ‘tree portals’ that act as a gateway into a rich alternate Dreamscape that he hope viewers will get lost in.
Talita Steyn makes art as a way to express things that are hard to put into words that she often feel shouldn’t be put into words. Her inspiration usually comes from moments or thoughts that fill her with an immediate sense of beauty and nostalgia, and the need to try and capture something of that experience in a visual form, the same way we try to hold onto a dream to tell someone as quickly as possible, while we feel it evaporating into a lost memory. This often leads to a serious case of being lost in translation, but the need to try is ever present when inspiration strikes. Steyn’s art has never dealt with big issues like politics or human rights, but rather comes from a place she still struggle to understand herself, dealing more with what it’s like to have a human experience of life and the things in it that puzzles, mystifies and awes her. Her art usually takes a figurative form and up until recently her medium of choice has been oil painting. Sculpture is a new medium for her and one she would like to explore further.
Art@Clocktower gallery looks forward to introducing you to David Griessel and Talita Steyn and their world of narrating their personal journeys of worlds known yet mysterious.