Elfriede Dreyer, Green fire, 2018. R24000.00
Elfriede Dreyer, Green fire, 2018. Mixed media on canvas, 1210 x 1830mm. Provenance: Obtained from the artist.
My work Green fire was produced for Vuurdans, a main exhibition at the KKNK 2018, of which I was the invited curator. In this work I depict my personal interpretation of the devastation brought by the Great Fire of June 2017 in the Garden Route, Western Cape. I lost my entire home and its contents in the fire. The title of Green fire refers to the hybridisation of the green pastural environment and its consumption and destruction by the raging fire. I attempted to produce an image of liquidity and literally everything taken from being a solid state to a liquid or ashen state, and by so doing I also comment on the fragility of life. A liminal mix of utopian green and dystopian grey/brown has been conceptually used in the mixed media paint application. mixed media paint application. I deliberately deconstructed landscape painting into a gestural idiom whereby the horizon line and recognisable form disintegrate into expressive abstraction. This was a deliberate choice in order to attempt to express the horror and trauma of the incident.
MORE ON THE ARTIST
Elfriede Dreyer is an arts professor, curator, writer and artist. She has been affiliated with Unisa since 2015, after lecturing there full-time from 1990 to 2003. She also taught full-time at the University of Pretoria from 2003 to 2014.
Her recent work from 2017 onwards entails a series of event-based works relating to the traumatic experience of the loss of her entire home and personal belongings during the Great Fire of 7 June 2017. Her main conceptual preoccupation is an ongoing interest in worldmaking discourses and the ideologies of place and space. main concepts are utopia, dystopia and heterotopia as nuances of a family of constructions around place, such as a good place; a bad place; non-place; cocooning; displacement; and migrancy. Perceptions and projections of a good place as utopia are common, but exist mainly as fictions. Although many utopias have been conceived over the ages, few have worked out. Still they persist in appearing in a social and political sense; in addition, most people nurture personal ideas about a ‘good’ place. A non-place is a no-man’s land or space that belongs to no-one and everyone, such as, according to French anthropologist Marc Augé, a supermarket, airport or mall. Although a non-place then seems void of utopia, it is not, since these spaces have been conceived as ‘good’ places with good objective or teleology.
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