20.02.16 – 09.04.16
‘Loog’, an Afrikaans word for leaching, denotes a process that filters and clarifies, and like unrelenting rain, has the potential to strip bare and erode. A process that may impoverish soil and poison human flesh, it is also used to preserve food and to cleanse and renew.
Like lye, the alkaline solution used to cleanse by filtering or corroding, Johann Louw strips away, eradicating facades and conventions when representing his seemingly commonplace subjects, that are often desolate in empty, timeless landscapes. The artist stares, scratches and discloses that which many are too timid or polite to recognize.
Following from the paintings and drawings of his 2010 and 2013 solo exhibitions, this body of work presents Louw’s continued grappling with paint and charcoal, a medium from which he wrests the marks, colours and textures to best speak of that “interior space where cultural and societal restraints are erased” (2010). The same easily recognisable subjects – human figures, dogs, skulls, dolls – appear in his latest work with the addition of antique dresses and tailor’s dummies. As before, the aim is not to represent that which is specific to the subject, but rather that which is particular to the artist’s psyche at the time of working.