From Soil is an exhibition with two artists, it is a duo show and a duet of sorts – both singularly presented and in communication with each other, the work explores dualities and complexities of our world through the making of allegories and iconic imagery drawn of and from soil, earth and the universe. The title From Soil is implicit rather than prescriptive or defining of the works exhibited, the words invoke the qualities of narrative and growth so as to ruminate on the process of creation – both in art making and in life. Symbolism and metaphor are prominent thematic devices in the work of both Ronald Muchatuta, a Zimbabwean born – Cape Town based multimedia artist, and Michael Selekane, an artist born in Mpumalanga who is currently working in Pretoria. Though both of their images are heavily layered with meaning and historical weight, there is an attentiveness to detail, to quality of line and content that expands the work beyond conceptual and contextual ties into an understanding and appreciation of form and narrative. As such, both Michael Selekane and Ronald Muchatuta present intricately impactful pieces in Eclectica Print Gallery’s From Soil.
Michael Selekane is known for the lucid astuteness with which he captures the lives of many ordinary South Africans. His works highlight the realities of living, working and growing in this new democratic South Africa, where much is yet to be overcome and there are complexities to everything that has been gained. Michael articulates the subtleties of social issues by highlighting key elements through simple imagery and iconic references – from electricity pylons to the pick of a miner. Comprising of only monotone prints, Michael’s presentation for From Soil whittles down to essentials of representation and storytelling, providing poignant and pointed statements through his work.
Ronald Muchatuta’s approach to storytelling is evident in the layering aspect of his works, references upon references prove the dynamic and introspective quality of his thinking, planning and implementation. The interactions undertaken across the expanse of paper convey a sense of self-analysis and questioning within each piece. A microscopic interpretation of soil in relation to galaxies, colour and an investigation into its metaphoric deeper layers plays out in the dense mapping of Ronald’s work. Seemingly intergalactic and mystical, Ronald’s art is grounded in lived experience and walks through his own musings and critique of the spaces and worlds he experiences.
For the month of August, Eclectica Print Gallery hosts From Soil. The exhibition features only works created on paper by Michael Selekane and Ronald Muchatuta, curated by Clare Patrick. Ronald Muchatuta also features on an exhibition up the road from Eclectica Print Gallery, curated by Carlyn Strydom for Museumher, hosted by Worldart. Both exhibitions will open on August 1st with a walkabout by the curators and artists.