Every artist undresses his subject, whether human or still life. It is his business to find essences in surfaces, and what more attractive and challenging surface than the skin around a soul? ~Richard Corliss~

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Updates on recent happenings

After a year in the Clarens Info & Tourist Centre, the gallery has relocated to new premises. The new address is Post House Corner, Corner of Market & Main Streets, Clarens, Free State.

We are now situated around the famous square, next to Clarens Rocks and Dirt Road Traders. It took us all of 2 days to get the current location ready, paint, install the picture rails, clean up, move and hang the paintings. The move has already proven to be a positive one, since the gallery now has two entrances.

Market Street Entrance

Post House Rest Entrance

View from inside the gallery

The exhibition of Carl Verster has also done well, and has been met with a lot of positive comments from the public. For fun, we decided to play around and Carl brought along a small painting called "Imperfect Storm", we marked it as R7. Whoever spotted this "mistake" could then buy it for that price. It was only the day after the opening, that a lady came to enquire about the painting. So, an original Carl Verster, bought for a mere R7 - what a bargain!

Jacoline and her daughter, who spotted the "mistake" in price, and bought an original Carl Verster for R7

The next exhibition(s) will be held at the end of March and April respectively. First up is "Women in (e-) Motion, by Bloemfontein artist, Ia Crous.
(25 March - 5 April)

It's all about women (who else?) and their experiences throughout life. Women in (e-) Motion is a theme that touches Ia deeply, because she can identify herself with the phsycological struggle of the modern woman. She has to fulfil her task as woman, lover, mother, politician, friend, worker, and ..........yes! so many tasks to be done accordingly to the expectatons of the world around her and of cause according to her own unexpected inperfections. You are welcome to join us on Saturday 26 March at 6pm for a glass of wine. Come chat to the artist herself!

Next up will be Ester Grobler and Stefan Hofmeyr from Pretoria, over the Easter Week end holiday (29 April to around 2 May). Both of them are excellent in capturing the human form, expressing emotions in fluid organic lines. These are some of their current pieces in the gallery:

Ester Grobler: "Mortal Beauty" Oil on canvas

Stefan Hofmeyr: "Leilani's day off I" Oil on canvas

Hope to see you soon!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What can you can expect to see at "Songs on the Eve of Destruction"

I thought it would be nice to give you a sneak preview of what you can expect to see at this upcoming exhibition. ;)


"Echoes and Butterflies"

"Maid of Orleans"

"Moonlit Sonata"
 Remember to join us for the opening on Saturday, 18 Dec at 7pm!


Friday, November 26, 2010

Interview with artist Carl Verster on his upcoming exhibition called "Songs on the Eve of Destruction"

“Songs on the Eve of Destruction” by artist Carl Verster at Essensual Art Gallery, Clarens. Opening 18th of December 2010 at 7pm.

When you first meet Carl, you sense that this is a shy and extremely reserved person, but once you gaze upon his paintings, you realise that he is a multi-dimensional artist, extremely individualistic and highly driven by the ebb and flow of emotions. Carl has been exhibiting his art at Essensual Art Gallery for the past year, and this will be his first solo exhibition. I asked Carl a few questions and this is what he had to say:

What inspired the exhibition theme and what does it mean to you?

I would rather not say too much about that and rather let the paintings do the 'talking', but this exhibition is my attempt at expressing an emotional state. The title refers, rather obliquely, to a number of interpretive eves as a collective. This was inspired by, and is about eve, and Eve generally; and specifically songs dealing with the core understanding of Eve, which is in essence "life". Really , for me this is a segment of life through my eyes. The subject matter, the tone, the expression is sometimes serious, as is life. I have painted what I sincerely felt, and yes often that reflects tragedy. The subjects may be on the dark side at times but they are soft, not hard, they are positive, not cynical and there is a hope that shines through.

You don't paint "pretty pictures", why?
Well, that's not entirely true. I hope that some of my paintings are pretty. But I also hope that even my pretty ones are more than just pretty. When you refer to "pretty pictures" I interpret that as being works that are purely aesthetic and have no 'soul'. In other words the art does not speak to you, it's simply pretty to look at. I hope that I never resort to doing that kind of work. Don't get me wrong, I believe that pretty pictures have their place in the art world. They do. But personally find it very intellectually and emotionally disengaging working on a canvas which says very little but just looks good. It's boring. Eventually eye-candy becomes dull. And I believe the sensitive viewer picks up on that. We all need a bit of a challenge.

Do you paint what you have experienced, or is it imaginative works?
Without trying to sit on the fence or hedge my bets in any way, both! My paintings are very often purely imaginative in content or subject matter and yet fully experienced in respect of what goes into them and what is trying to be carried through them. Yes, sometimes I will paint what I see and experience physically and through my senses, but I will always try and paint what I experience emotionally. Often I will hunt for subject matter based on what I am experiencing.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I could seriously fill a book on what inspires me. It's not always easy to pinpoint. Often I know exactly what prompted me, but from time to time it just happens. It whells up like water seeping from the ground, impossible to identify the root source. Those instances are I guess the result of a number of triggers, all coming together at once. So, what are these triggers? Well Almost every painting I produce stems from an inability to express intense emotion elsewhere; either not being permitted to, being denied the opportunity to or literally being unable to contain it. All it takes is one small trigger to release it in paint.

It's much easier to tell you what inspires in terms of those triggers that to tell you what actually drives me to create ... that emotional source. There is no mystery in what those triggers are. They are everyday things that everyone experiences, but music and memories play a particularly significant role in triggering work.

I must say I do find inspiration in the Old Masters, and you may see a little of that influence in my work here and there. I try not to be a slave to them though.

Do you believe that art can be therapeutic?

Absolutely! Both for the painter and the viewer! Painting for me is a sounding board in life, my therapist, and the intuitive viewer becomes an almost unintended voyeur to that counselling session. For me the after effect of that is a level of catharsism, at least until the need to do it all over again arises. I guess that makes me a serial painter?

You also write poetry - tell us more - does it coincide with any particular painting and do you feel a connection between painting and poetry?
I don't believe I am a particularly good writer, but I love writing almost as much as I love painting. To me both are forms of painting; one with a brush, the other with words. I truly see them as sister arts; two sides of the same coin. Sometimes my writing is closely linked to particular pieces, almost as subtitles to the visual message. Generally though I do not share that writing with others. It gives away too much, is too intimate and is selfish I think. I don't like imposing interpretations of pieces on people, and publishing accompanying poems or statements alongside the work does that.

Sonnet 24 by Shakespeare served as inspiration for his painting:

Mine eye hath play'd the painter and hath stell'd

Thy beauty's form in table of my heart;

My body is the frame wherein 'tis held,

And perspective it is the painter's art.

For through the painter must you see his skill,

To find where your true image pictured lies;

Which in my bosom's shop is hanging still,

That hath his windows glazed with thine eyes.

Now see what good turns eyes for eyes have done:

Mine eyes have drawn thy shape, and thine for me

Are windows to my breast, where-through the sun

Delights to peep, to gaze therein on thee;

Yet eyes this cunning want to grace their art;

They draw but what they see, know not the heart.

Please join us at Essensual Art Gallery for the opening of Carl’s exhibition. Experience Eve through his eyes and drink in the painted Songs of his art.


Mercia Deale

PS: this interview will be published in the newly launced "InClarens" Magazine, Dec issue. On sale at selected outlets both in the Eastern Freestate and Gauteng

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Exhibition by Carl Verster: "Songs on the Eve of Destruction"

Essensual Art Gallery cordially invites you to attend the opening of Carl Verster's first solo exhibtion, called "Songs on the Eve of Destruction"

Date: 18 December 2010 at 7pm
Venue: Essensual Art Gallery Clarens
Address: Uppel level, Clarens Info & Tourist Centre, Market Street, Clarens

To hint at what you can expect, here is a poem Carl has penned for his exhibition:

Adam’s lament

Endless waves of sea, meeting waves of sand,

Her prayers of absolution greet my name,

Her tears embrace all I am, eroding me; and

I am left here, wretched, broken man that I am,

Fending off the pain others breed and feed.

Dusk light prickling my eyes in the twilight,

Haunted in one breath, taunted in another,

Singing songs on, and to, and from this Eve;

Songs. Yes, songs on the eve of destruction,

I, a crashing wave, breaking on her shore.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Article written for local magazine "Speckled Bean"

Essensual Art Gallery: “Petite” Exhibition

Written by Mercia Deale

Current exhibition running from June through to July 2010 called “Petite” –is a collection of 20x20cm canvases by various artists throughout the country: Heidi Kern, Paul-Jacques du Plessis, Carl Verster, Barry Keyser and Mercia Deale. July submissions will be from Frances Lozear and Cheryl Walker. The subject matter varies, pieces called “Eros” and “Psyche”, by Carl Verster explores the emotion between the characters in Greek mythology. Another called “This Kiss” is accompanied by this poem he has written:

“Where do two souls touch?” he prayed

“The skin, fingers entwined?”

“Or here?” gestures to eyes

“Here,” she smiles

“This kiss” she says “This kiss of mine”

Mercia Deale has chosen couples as a subject matter, with pieces called “Sweet whispers” and “Be the light of my emotion”. It’s a sepia range which explores the emotions of couples in a loving embrace. She says “we all have experienced the closeness, the ecstasy, the protection of a loved one in an intimate embrace. It can feed the soul and keep you going for yet another day” She has also included a colourful series of woman’s faces half hidden, capturing their sensuality and showing that sensuality does not mean nudity.

Paul-Jacques du Plessis has submitted sensual lips that almost reminds of “pop-art” and Andy Warhol. Expression and communication can be done without ever uttering a single word – just by pouting those beautiful lips!

Barry Keyser is a digital artist, combining photography, fine art, possibly some abstract and surrealism in his images, but always honouring the essence of life: the nude. On his piece “Juvilent” he says: “In this piece, I captured the essence of ecstatic joy. The woman on her throne is sitting on top of the world, in control and even more so with grace. From the solar plexus chakra busts the yellow sunflower energy that protrudes through her whole being and invokes the childlike happiness, not just in herself but also in every person that looks upon her. ”

Barry Keyser: "Juvelant" Digital Art printed on canvas

Other art is still available throughout the exhibition. Essensual Art Gallery specializes in sensual art, exploring the naked human form, celebrating organic lines, lines which produces strong emotion; emotion that is often not explored and faced in everyday life. What is our body without emotion? What defines us?

Artists that submit pieces do not do it for the purpose of selling art, but believe in conveying a strong message – one that states: This is you in all your glory, celebrate it and make peace with it! What subject has more emotion than a human being? How can a still life provoke you to rethink anything, how can a landscape stir up a long forgotten emotion? Therefore do not expect pretty pictures at Essensual Art, be prepared to fill your senses with visual education on the human form, smell the emotion, hear the colours and let it touch your heart.

Next exhibition is scheduled for September 2010 by artist Carl Verster, called “Songs on the Eve of destruction”

Located at Shop 7, Upper Level, Clarens Tourist and Information Centre, Market Street, Clarens.

Email: art@essensual.co.za

Web: www.essensual.co.za

Contact Mercia Deale: 082 210 6894

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Next exhibition by Carl Verster called "Songs on the Eve of destruction"

Yes! I have finally been able to convince this very talented artist to do his first solo exhibition. It will be held during the September school holiday (not sure of the exact dates yet, but will post them later on).

He has chosen a very interesting working title called "Songs on the Eve of destruction". Not only is Carl talented with a brush, he has ways with words that can leave you mesmerized and pondering about it for days. So this leads us to his working title - I was given a brief explanation and loved it! (Though I must admit, the pictures I conjured up in my mind will definately NOT be what Carl will produce - he is very secretive about what he plans - so it will be a surprise to all of us!)

Think about his title and feel free to give your thoughts about it - what do think it's about? What word play do you see in the title, what does it mean to YOU?

As always, I am excited to see what Carl will produce. He has submitted stunning little pieces for the "Petite" exhibition and included a poem with each one:

Carl Verster: "Dreams of Eros" Oil on canvas 20x20cm
In the theatre of my mind,
On the rapid eye reflex movie screens,
Playing on the insides of my eyelids,
There you will find,
music echoing memories of a bygone time.
Watch closely now as the act unfolds,
Real-life actors in a script of years,
"If this was movie," we said.
Remember? And it was and is.
Soundtracks trigger scenes,
In this theatre of my mind.

Carl Verster: "This Kiss" Oil on canvas 20x20cm
"Where do two souls touch?" he prayed
"The skin, fingers entwined?"
"Or here?" gestures to the eyes
"Here" she smiles
"This kiss" she says "this kiss of mine"
 Carl Verster: "Eros" Oil on canvas 20x20cm
Shadows cast downwards from a half hidden moon.
Illuminating the planes of sylvan skin.
Tousled hair woven on pillow.
Fingers meshed.
Butter yellow sunbeams dancing from cloudless sky.
Gambol playfully over unmade bower.
Jumbled cloth on creased sheet.
Figures long left.
 Carl Verster: "Psyche" Oil on canvas 20x20cm 
A whisper, faint echoes,
drift through the trees
as the dusk closes in.
A pianissimo - faint tones of her wings beating,
as she makes her descent.

He, ensnared in the loving web,bound
by the chords of her souls song,
Meeting in muted clearing,
A fortissimo - immortal heart beating,
as they make their ascent.

Remember to visit Essensual Art Gallery when you are in Clarens!