29 APRIL -27 MAY 2010.
Goodman Gallery Cape proudly presents a solo exhibition of new and recent drawings and prints by David Koloane. The exhibition foregrounds Koloane’s decades-long exploration of the bustle and frictions of the inner city of Johannesburg, where Koloane has his studio. In his work, Koloane negotiates actual and symbolic tensions between the vertical planes of high-rise buildings and the low pulse of crowd-filled streets, viewed through hazy early morning or late afternoon smog. The moods and shifts in the city’s light and landscape are represented in Koloane’s gestural marks and his colourful but earthy palette. This work lends credence to Ivor Powell’s observation that Koloane’s ‘expressive and representational realisation makes the canvas into a site of subliminally emotive suggestion as much as a representational equivalent of observed reality.’
A new body of work included on the exhibition playfully engages with the soccer mania sweeping the country. Koloane has created a series of large-scale charcoal and pastel drawings depicting a player in action – legs flailing in strong circular movements. Reminiscent of mandalas, the movement poetically captures the dynamics of the beautiful game.
David Koloane is one of the important South African artists of recent decades. His contribution to the visual arts spans criticism, curation, developmental interests and a prolific career as a practitioner. A founding member of the Bag Factory (Fordsburg Artists’ Studios) in Johannesburg, Koloane was instrumental in establishing a presence in southern Africa for the Triangle Trust, an international network of artists and arts organisations. He has exhibited widely and his work is represented in major collections including Iziko South African National Gallery, the Johannesburg Art Gallery, Wits Art Galleries as well as the Botswana National Museum.
David Koloane (1938 – 2019) was born in Alexandra, Johannesburg, South Africa. Koloane spent his career making the world a more hospitable place for black artists during and after apartheid. Koloane achieved this through his pioneering work as an artist, writer, curator, teacher and mentor to young and established artists at a time when such vocations were restricted to white people in South Africa. A large part of this effort involved the initiatives Koloane helped establish, from the first Black Art Gallery in 1977, the Thupelo experimental workshop in 1985 and the Bag Factory Artists’ Studios in 1991, where he served as director for many years. Koloane also tutored at the Federated Union of Black Artists (FUBA) in 1979 and became the head of the fine art section and gallery from 1985 to 1990.
Through his expressive, evocative and poetic artwork, Koloane interrogated the socio-political and existential human condition, using Johannesburg as his primary subject matter. Koloane’s representations of Johannesburg are populated with images of cityscapes, townships, street life, jazz musicians, traffic jams, migration, refugees, dogs, and birds among others. Imaginatively treated, through the medium of painting, drawing, assemblage, printmaking and mixed media, Koloane’s scenes are a blend of exuberant and sombre, discernible and opaque pictorial narratives.
Koloane’s work has been widely exhibited locally and internationally. In 1999 he was part of the group exhibition Liberated Voices at the National Museum of African Art in Washington DC. In 2013, Koloane’s work was shown on the South African pavilion at the 55th la Biennale di Venezia and on the group exhibition My Joburg at La Maison Rouge in Paris. In 1998, the government of the Netherlands honoured Koloane with the Prince Claus Fund Award for his contributions to South African art. Koloane was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate twice, once from Wits University in 2012, and again from Rhodes University in 2015.
Earlier this year Koloane was the subject of a travelling career survey exhibition, A Resilient Visionary: Poetic Expressions of David Koloane, which opened at IZIKO SANG in June and will travel to Standard Bank Gallery and Wits Art Museum in October.