Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Strangely strange, but oddly normal

I came across a miscellaneous group of pictures in my collection from the mid-1980s which again seem to capture some of the angst, and possible green shoots of hope, as the country's rebirth as a democracy, though still very distant, started with painful, often violent, contractions.

Take one manila envelope and start drawing. Let your imagination run riot and this is what you may end up with. The main image at the base is of a man with a rather fearful stare floating above a sun-soaked range of mountains. But there are other snippets, seen from other angles.

This, from the other side of the envelope, may have been the product of watching someone overweight over-indulge at Christmas. Sadly, it betrays a fattist prejudice, but in the end obesity is actually dangerous for your health, so maybe it's not such a cruel observation after all.

So this piece of mounting board, on which I had painted a blue frame and cut it out, remained. And of course it suggested a face, which was drawn in.

Odd dog. There is something rather ugly about an aroused dog, is there not?

This was probably the product of the spate of assassinations by the apartheid security police of anti-apartheid activists. It started with Steve Biko in 1977, but by 1985 had become an Eastern Cape epidemic, with the Pebco Three and Cradock Four all dying brutal, mysterious deaths.

There may indeed be symolism in the bar-like shapes and the gagged mouth here, but frankly I think this was again simply an expression of some subconscious emotions.

I only discovered this unflattering (naturally) self-portrait with snor on the back of one of these paintings, which were done in acrylics on board, when I scanned the picture on the other side. Again, I have no recollection of even doing it.

And why a parrot, of all things, at this time?

There is a mouse-like face in here somewhere. Can you spot it?

Another strange image from my imagination.

You may notice that in each of these I signed my name KIN and then the same three letters backwards, before partially covering these with white paint. I don't enjoy signing my work, but I suppose sometimes one feels the need to assert ownership.

Landscape of the mind. I simply had a bit of fun with a felt-tipped pen and paints.

Like the dog further up the posting, there is something rather disturbing about this image.

The laurels normally go to the good-looking, hard-fighting victor, but here he seems to be a dissipated loser. Is that a metaphor for much of life?

I tried my hand at fairly conventional landscapes, done from the imagination.

This one works better. I have done several large paintings along similar lines down the years, with the hills naturally lending themselves to being interpreted as the curves of a reclining female figure.

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