Artists explore light and shadow

Northglen News ~ 12 October 2007

EARTH, Light and Spirit, an exhibition of works by Durban-based artists Maggie Strachan, Roz Cryer, and Lara Mellon (from Durban North), recently opened at artSPACE Durban and runs to Saturday, 13 October.

The three artists work together regularly sharing ideas, feedback, support and encouragement with each other.

"We are each, in our individual ways, inspired by our perceptions of the earth, by the way it is transformed by light and shadow, and by the spirit which infuses it, " agree the artists.

Roz's paintings capture moments in nature where light and shadows are the primary focus. On another level the paintings aim to evoke the deep and healing relationship between humanity and wilderness.

Maggie's work explores the ambiguous relationship between that which seems structured and that which seems shrouded in shadow.

And Lara's paintings are inspired through the search for the essence of things, the spirit of the place or a person, and are characterised by a spirituality expressed in marks of movement and light that reveal the image.

Lara, who has been drawing since she was given pencil and paper as a young child, is also a member of the corporate world. "But my art is not a hobby, it is who I am as is my role in the working world." she said.

"In fact the one feeds the other. My conceptual thinking is a creative process and my corporate thinking is expressed in my art. " But working and being a wife and mother of two has meant that Lara has had to fit in her paintings between other tasks. However, time snatched has not restricted her creativity in any way, and she has regularly been commissioned.

But now that her children are older, she has decided to stop commissions, and finally paint for herself.

The overall feel of the exhibited paintings is one of peace and hope. Even the dark pictures have an element of hope to inspire the viewer.

Lara's art reminds us that our fast-paced world where instant gratification is demanded, is not where nature designed us to be. "We need to remember that what is profound is the simple and ordinary, she said. "Who we are is enough, and the constant struggle for unattainable perfection leads to desperation and hopelessness.

"The industrial-like settings of artSPACE is the perfect place to take us away from the glitz and glamour and let the artwork do the speaking."

---Michelle Dennis