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16.02.23 - 04.03.23



A conversation between Julia Bennett & Sivan Zeffertt 

In collaboration with ERA Gallery

ERA Gallery and SMAC Gallery are pleased to present The Way Through, an exhibition of work by Julia Bennett and Sivan Zeffertt. Curated especially for the Investec Cape Town Art Fair, this project brings together two emerging artists who take inspiration from the natural world to create large-scale artworks that use process and materiality to assess the interconnectedness of time, action and our immediate environment.

Our natural environment holds space for us, even while being torn apart. The artists experience this space through traces – remnants left from the deep layers of time, journeys taken through a landscape, and the imprint of our presence. Their processes reflect the marks made through movement, time and human interference. Zeffertt sees her practice as movement through a landscape, experiencing each moment one step at a time while the greater picture slowly reveals itself and simultaneously disappears behind her. This movement, her passage through time, is traced on the loom through the hypnotic movement of her hands and feet, the sounds of the pedals and the shuttle, each moving in their own rhythm. Rhythm becomes ritual, tracing steps and marking the various interventions made through the cycles of growth and collapse.

The gestural marks of Bennett’s paintings echo this rhythm through their own ritual-making. Layer upon layer of pigment, soil and residue are applied to her canvas, both revealing and erasing life between the layers. Her practice serves as evidence – a response to the continuous destruction of our earth by human intervention and the land’s ability to rebuild from within the ruins. The process is visceral – led by her desire to better understand the recent histories of a space, she follows her intuition like mycorrhizal networks through the landscape of her inquiry.

Bennett and Zeffertt come together in this exhibition to assess the human trace on the earth through work that is active, destructive, generative and contemplative. Their large scale pieces construct their own language, choosing when to reveal and when to obscure. These languages are read through the movement of the pieces – the instinctive, empowered strokes of Bennett’s hand; the subtle pattern of Zeffertt’s weave on a cloth strung across a space – and together they paint a picture of a world that needs our attention.

Julia Bennett (b. 1995) is an American artist currently living and working in London after completing her Master’s in Painting at the Royal College of Art. Her emotional yet intellectual paintings use natural pigments and found materials on unprimed canvas to examine the cycles of creation and erasure within our human-dominated world.

Sivan Zeffertt (b. 1992) is a South African artist living and working in Cape Town. She studied Architecture at the University of Cape Town, but has since shifted her focus to weaving. Her sculptural woven pieces take inspiration from ancient systems of code, developed from the loom, as she uses these systems to trace and mark her own journey within an ever-changing world.

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