Through Forests - July 2016

Lara Mellon @ The Loading Bay Gallery from 1 July – 24 July 2016 

Join us at the Opening this Friday from 6pm


My work reflects the freedom I find in open landscapes and then of forests filled with mystery.

In some of these, I have included photographed figures taken during a typical day in the city. 

Placing these photographed images within painted forest and landscape settings creates a certain magic for me, and suggests that perhaps even living within the urban space, the longing for freedom of open planes and the magic of forests persist within us.


Loading Bay Gallery:  Grace Kotze 0825605045

15 Station Drive, Durban (housed in Con Amore Home)

Wed - Fri: 10:00am - 4:00pm and Sat - Sun: 9:00am - 1:00pm

Gallery closed on Monday and Tuesday

Facebook: Loading Bay Gallery Instagram: loadingbaygallery

Walkabout - with Ana De Vlieg - Saturday 13th Sept

We ended the exhibition on Saturday 13th September on a particularly high note thanks to Ana's ability to engage the crowd in her sincere, charming, insightful and caring manner.

You can read the transcript to get the basis of what she had to say here .... and you can view the photographs from the walkabout in the gallery here.


Understory: Exhibition Opening

The opening on Tuesday was a wonderful celebration.

We are very grateful to all those who joined us for a great evening, with special mention of Jenny Stretton who opened our exhibition. 

Below is the transcript from Jenny's opening address:   And you can click here to see more photos from the opening evening.

KZNSA 26th August 2014


Why do people paint fantasy – possibly because realist symbolism cannot carry the complex ideas the artist wants to express.

The painter creates another world by breaking a convention and, depending on the skill of the artist persuades the viewer to suspend disbelief and enter that world. Both of these artists are travellers in such worlds.

In Understory we descend to a level below consciousness, below the physical and below logic. The artists have used botanical shapes as the ladder for their descent: a curvaceous, organic, root-like link brings the viewer down from the canopy to their world. There is a sense that we are not viewing abstracted forms in the real world but rather real forms in an abstracted world – an exhibition that Alice may have curated. But the work is more serious than that with both artists narrating internal journeys that paradoxically have their roots above ground in the hustle and bustle of everyday life: it’s as if they descend to process and express the tensions in modern society.

This is not a collaboration, from the start one can see strong individual traits emerging : Mellon’s work uses connective elements such as string, strands, plumes of colour to link elements together. The filaments are reminiscent of nerve cells in some case, sewing thread in others, and in the case of the bolder columns of colour  –  they remind one of waterspouts or lava flows. These works speak of a need to connect with others, other people, other ideas, other worlds. The use of the circular format in which to place the compositions sets up a tension between the contained, insular, lonely ,internal world and the greater dangerous and infinite outer world.  Where characters are portrayed they are anonymous profiles or in the case of the work titled Grace set against the light giving the figure an ethereal sense. There is a very real sense of isolation , a poignant solitary quality that goes to the core of human existence – we are alone.

Martin’s work could be described as a series of coiled springs: energy is bound up in her figures suggesting potential, human capacity, and restraint. The parallels between the cat positions and the human figures seem to point to a dissolving of the borders between the two species and therefore a more than biological connection. Martin imbues the cats with human personality and vice versa. This is an interesting setup: collapsing the boundaries means a loss of ownership but also a freedom from owning the guilt that goes with the pride in one’s own breed. Martin plays further with this theme in the Vasco de Gama clock setting herself within the construction, contained like a bird in a gilded cage – such is the trap of colonialism. ... and the clock ticks on. Like Mellon she also uses trees to tell stories but in a different way: her trees are fantastical and invite discovery, the viewer would not be surprised to find raiders from... War of the Worlds climbing from limb to limb.  Like Mellon, Martin also uses a circular format in some of the works but these serve a different purpose – parking or ring-fencing difficult or unpleasant topics in bowls that are in essence little holding tanks or jails.

So both artists deal with the Understory in ways that are connected but different.  In the postcard series one is reminded of the distance that separates all individuals  – the metaphor made all the more potent by the apparent lightness of the exchanges. The obvious affection the artists have for one another bleeds into the work as they pass parts of their lives back and forth. One obviously recalls  84 Charing Cross Rd , a transatlantic  correspondence set in post-war England in which two characters become firm friends over a twenty year period of letter writing. Here however the Mellon/Martin exchange revolves around work, it was the genesis of the exhibition, the idea of forging a common piece of work albeit in two halves.  These postcards chronicle the process – how  their inevitably separate contributions were brought together. Herein lies the truth of this exhibition, its tension and its power. 


I’m very happy to open this exhibition.  


Understory @ the Kznsa Gallery

You can read a bit more about our exhibition on the Kzn Website:

Joan has cleverly combined images of her and my work ... to come up with these banners.

I think they look great and are a fabulous reflection of a collaborative exhibition !

(above) Lara's "Crossing Over" and Joan's Sam

(below) Lara's "Tanglewood" and Joan's Sam


Silence of the Lands

 You are invited to an exhibition by:

Joan Martin, Lara Mellon, Maggie Strachan and Ana Pereira de Vlieg

Tuesday 18th June at 6:30pm until Saturday 6th July 12noon


Fat Tuesday

Bellevue Campus - Bellevue Road - Kloof – 031-717-2785/9

Cash Bar Downstairs or call ahead to book a table for supper at Bellevue Café (031) 717-2780


As with previous art exhibitions at Fat Tuesday (Two Goats and a Dog - 2011, Lost Found & Stolen - 2012) this exhibition is as much about our relationship with one another as the development of our art. This time our group has been expanded by the inclusion of Ana Pereria De Vlieg.

At our initial meeting we came up with the idea of landscape as a theme. All four of us have explored landscape in one form or another in our previous artwork.

Some of our early attempts at a title for this exhibition included “Land Claims” and “Land (re)claimed” but both were rejected for their political association. We have recently settled on the title “Silence of the Lands” this was inspired by the following quote “Where the river is deepest it makes the least noise.” Lara Mellon was instrumental in coming up with this title and she says: “There’s an unsettled quietness in all our work … a peaceful threatening …” 

 In order to challenge each other and underline our association we decided to all approach the method of making art for this exhibition in a particular way. Each of us selects an image and shares it with the other three - specifying a particular format i.e. A4, A5 etc. We all paint from the same reference image and share the results at our regular meetings, which occur about once a month.  Each artist can submit as many versions as she wants of the same image, as long as the same reference is used.  These monthly meetings are held at Durban Girls’ College Art studio in the afternoons where informal crit. sessions are conducted.  


Lara Mellon – Sienna Soil – 15x15cm


                Maggie Strachan – Red Earth  – 15x15cm



Joan Martin – Ana’s Gold – 15x15cm  



 Ana Pereira De Vlieg – Tilled Soil – 15X15cm





Tues 18th June 6:30 – Exhibition to be opened by Joan Martin

Sat 22nd  June 10:30 -  Walkabout from a psychological perspective with Estelle Hudson, Narrative and Family Therapist

Sat 29th June 10:30 – Walkabout from an artist perspective with  Jeanette Gilks, Fibre Artist and Art teacher


We had a great time ....

Estelle's walkabout was brilliant as always and pretty soon I'll be able to post a transcript of her insights of our works.  You can click here to see some fotos from the walkabout as well as some nice pics showing how our works were hung.

I've also loaded the images of my works here on this site, under works, gallery is called Lost, Found and Stolen.

We had a wonderfully successful exhibition with great support and feedback ... so encouraging. Thanks to all for making it totally splendid.

Walkabout by Estelle Hudson

Tomorrow Saturday 26th - 10:30am ..... @ Fat Tuesday, Kloof 

Join us for the walkabout, see the works before they come down at 1pm  .... shop in Shannon's INCREDIBLE Fat Tuesday Shoppe and stay for a delictable snack and cuppa at Bellefue Cafe !!! :-)

We had fantastic feedback from those who attended Estelle's walkabout of our exhibition last year at Fat Tuesday, where everyone absolutely enjoyed and were informed by Estelle's remarkable insights.

A little bit about Estelle:  Estelle Hudson is a narrative and family therapist.

She conducts dream workshops for professionals, masters students and interested people. Her personal interests include feminist spirituality, drawing, painting and dream work.

Estelle and Maggie Strachan have conducted dream-painting workshops together for many years.

Estelle was also a painting student in Maggie’s studio and a student of drawing, printing and mixed-media with Jeanette Gilks.  She continues to work with the Garret Artists group.

Lost, Found n Stolen - Walkabout with Ana Pereira de Vlieg - 12th May

Ana Pereira de Vlieg led a group of interested people around the exhibition. Her comments were insightful and her animated descriptions and passion for art drew the audience in ... even the artists were fascinated with new perspectives of their art.

Ana will be conducting another walk-about on Tuesday15th May for her students and anyone else interested.

A little more about Ana here:  Ana Pereira de Vlieg earned distinction early on in her art career by being a finalist in the Emma Smith Scholarship Competition, awarded to her when she did honours in Fine arts at the Natal Technikon.  

She has been employed in formal art education functioning as the art teacher and vice-principal at a school for disadvantaged children in Kwamashu. Participating in community based projects such as murals for Effingham Road Bridge and everyONEcounts is testament to her warm generous spirit.

Most recently she completed the KZNSA Professional Course in 2010 focussing on an investigation of the shadow – using art as a means to confront the “negative” in ones life and use it as a healing tool. She uses this therapeutic aspect of art in her private lessons for adults held at her studio in La Lucia.

Along with Joan and Lara, Ana participated in the international Sketchbook Project,hosted by the Brooklyn Art library, New York City. 

You can see more photos from the walkabout on Saturday here.

Lost, Found and Stolen - Opening

Maggie Strachan, me and Joan MartinWe had a most enjoyable and very successful opening of our exhibition:  Lost, Found and Stolen @ Fat Tuesday on the 8th.

Jeanette Gilks gave an interesting address with her usual insightful take on the works.

Tomorrow Ana Pereira deVlieg will conduct a walkabout, but for now ... here are a few pics from the opening by kind courtesy of Harry Lock who is a fabulous artist, photographer.

I'll post photos of my new works within the next two weeks.

Jeanette Gilks giving her address at the opening on Tuesday.













                                                       You can click here to see more photos ...


Future Exhibitions

2012 - The Sketchbook Project - Brooklyn, NY

2012, May - Fat Tuesday, Kloof - with Maggie Stachan and Joan Martin.

2013, March - Joan Martin and I will be exhibiting a collaboration of installed contemporary works.

Two Goats and a Dog 
This Saturday 19th March 2011@ 10:30
with the artists
and with Jeanette Gilks
Fibre Artist and teacher of Art
@ Fat Tuesday
Bellevue Campus - Bellevue Road, Kloof
An exhibition by
Maggie Strachan, Joan Martin and
Lara Mellon
8th March until Saturday 26th March
Lara Mellon - Lets play catch - Mixed Media  - 10cm x 15cm
Lara Mellon - Hope Walking - Hope Walking II - Mixed Media - 15x10cm

Walkabout @ Fat Tuesday - Saturday 12th at 10:30

a Dog  
with Estelle Hudson 
This Saturday 12th March 2011
@ Fat Tuesday
Bellevue Campus - Bellevue Road, Kloof
Clinical Social worker, Estelle Hudson will conduct a walkabout and discussion of the artworks on Saturday 12th March from 10.30am 
An exhibition by
Maggie Strachan, Joan Martin and
Lara Mellon
8th March until Saturday 26th March
Lara Mellon - Fleece 1 - Mixed Media on Board - 21cm x 14cm