Thursday, December 24, 2009

Commercialism and Integrity

In the December issue, editor, Dr Sally Bulgin, has written her editorial welcome which may be of interest to our members.

She has kindly given us permission to quote her editorial.

"My recent visit to Tate Modern's Pop Life: Art in a Material World (on show until January 17), combined with popping next door to view the Royal Watercolour Society's Autumn Exhibition at the Bankside Gallery, was definitely a jarring experience.  It emphasised the worlds-apart difference between artists whose passion is for painting as an end in itself, and who quietly dedicate themselves to honing their visual and creative skills, compared to those such as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin who appear to have taken Andy Warhol's mantra that 'good business is the best art' as a starting point for creating their own media 'brands'.

I guess it can be argued that the achievement of these heirs of the Pop Art legacy is in the way in which they have engaged with the mass media, and encouraged their status as celebrities, so reaching out beyond the art world and into the broader world of culture and commerce.  Consequently, the majority of people with no other interest in art, will nevertheless have heard of Damien Hirst or Tracey Emin, purely on the strength of their personas as media brands.  This strength, and Damien Hirst's subsequent wealth and entrepreneurial talents, have enabled him to cover the entire cost of putting on an exhibition of the dubious results of his return to old-fashioned painting, at the esteemed Wallace Collection (London W1, until January 24).  I haven't seen this exhibition yet, but by all accounts the paintings are dreadful, completely lacking in painterly skill, and by Hirst's own admission his own children would appear to be better at painting than he is ('Back to the drawing board but "my kids are better than me", The Times, October 14).  The irony here is that in spite of producing 'shockingly bad' paintings, Hirst's 'brand' is strong enough to enable him to stage such an exhibition, which will probably generate a higher number of visitors, and purchases, than the undoubtedly much better paintings at the Bankside Gallery.

How sad it is that the culture of celebrity damages the real achievers in that their work is less noticed and appreciated, whilst the more empty and often unedifying output of some of our most commercially successful artists, who have made themselves into media-brands, enjoy more gallery space, air time, screen time, and column inches in national newspapers.

In complete contrast, I find myself even more appreciative of the quiet integrity of the work of artists such as Judi Whitton, for example, whose paintings offer a visual antidote to the 'jump off the wall', 'look at me' shock-factor work on display in Pop Life.  In her feature .... she suggests some simple ideas on how to engage the viewer more with a work by concentrating on subtlety - not a characteristic that will find much empathy amongst our Pop Art heirs."

Your comments on this article would be very interesting.

The Artist is a British magazine and you can subscribe by contacting them through their web on

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Eleanor Palmer Evening and Social

Thursday 26th November at 7.00pm: Eleanor Palmer Competition and Social Evening.
The late Eleanor Palmer was a long-standing member and prolific artist. While President of SASA, she presented a cup to the Society to be awarded annually to a member whose work was voted the best at an annual event at the Athenaeum. This competition is great fun and this wonderful social evening marks the end of the SASA year.

This is the first time we are combining our end of year social event with the Eleanor Palmer competition and the turnout should be great.  

So, all you SASA members out there, bring in your artwork (anything except class work or work overseen by a teacher), and enjoy the evening with us.  

Members and non-members are welcome, but remember, only members can vote on the night.

See you there!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Original Painting By SA Artist Pieter Le Roux 1957

This painting was painted by a South African Artist, Pieter le Roux. Boabab Tree, painted in 1957. The owner is thinking of selling it and would like to know what its estimated value is. Does anyone out there have any idea?

You can leave a comment which will be picked up by us or email Ivan Myburgh at

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Another French Letter from Fula

The weather is getting colder by the minute.  But the sun shines and not much rain.  I love the winter fashions here, anything goes, colours, styles, black tights worn with short skirts or short shorts.  I brought the black tights, pity I forgot the shorts.  Eish!
I discovered BHV, a massive dept. store with the most incredible art dept.  Forget Pearl paint in China Town New York .  I went to the basement to buy batteries,  the biggest hardware and tool dept I have ever seen  an amazing selection of tools for any and everything.  Batteries , dozens of them, all shapes and sizes and long queues of shoppers at every pay point.  On Sat a.m  I was walking to the Pompidou Centre and passed a morning market on a square next to one of the many ornate buildings in the area.  There were rose petals all over the ground, the name of the building had  Mairie in it,  a group of smartly dressed people were standing around, some with boutonierres.  It didn't take me long to figure out there must be a wedding happening.  BUT could not spot the bride.  Then a group gathered on the steps for a picture, 3 nice looking young men and a large elderly woman.  Then the 2 guys in the middle had a big smooch.  Quel surprise, legal in Catholic France? 
On my way again I passed the BHV pet supplies store.  What a treat pour moi.  Lots of dogs with their owners.  Sweet playful puppies getting their leashes tangled up,  older dogs looking bored especially one which was being fitted by his very serious owner for a raincoat.  And another fluffy dog whose owner and an exasperated assistant were trying out gprgepud harnesses that would not tangle his hair.  I could just imagine Sparky in that situation, giving me his sidesways dirty look, grumbling and growling.  The racks of clothes were seriously high fashion, couturier quality  _ embroidered, zipped, jewelled, in an amazing variety of fabrics, even camouflage prints,  (No Angie, I will not buy one for u know who!)  in all shapes and styles, even jackets with hoods bordered with fur! nogal!  The variety of toys and accoutrements was just as amazing.  

On my way back from the Pompidou, I went into one of the many huge  churches.  Just in time to hear the wonderful choir, sounding like angels,  so I sat and listened.   I sat near the middle and 2 girls aged about 10ish came in, and sat on the edge of a platform right in front of me.  They quickly whipped out 2 packs of cards and with a dexterity gained from long practice, shuffled, dealt and started their game.  They saw me watching them, smiled, and I smiled back, they were very cute.  !   Mon Dieu!  In a church, during a service!  I felt that I should move away in case a lightning bolt struck them!.

Paris is sure full of surprises.  Just about everyone speaks French, a leetle, and is quite friendly except for the men who work in reception at the Cite, the miserable sods.  I am managing to communicate. With lots of si’l vous plaits and mercies and smiley, smiley and occasional flash backs to what I learned at the Alliance Francaise, (Vocabulary 5 out of 10, grammar 0)  Hopefully I will improve.
A bientot

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Two new items for the weekend starting Friday

Goodman Gallery Cape
3rd Floor Fairweather House
176 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock
Friday 13th November at 11:00
Members and Non-Members R20
Historically seen as criminal, or sinful, the idea of dependency as an illness is a recent one.  Frances Goodman’s exhibition Morbid Appetites takes its name from an antiquated term for addictions.  In keeping with her long-running interest in obsessions, this exhibition is an objective study in sound, text and sculpture of what happens to the human condition when a psychological line is crossed.  On their most basic level, Goodman’s pieces are a detailed examination of how contemporary society is able to transform harmless activities like eating, shopping and taking medicine into deadly vices.  More critically, her works
comment on the economic and cultural conditions that accelerate this perversion.

Iziko South African Museum
Saturday 14th November at 15:00
Members R40, Non-Members R60, Students R20
Subtle Thresholds is primarily concerned with the visual representation of infectious disease, focusing particularly on its position as ‘different’, ‘outside’ and ‘other’, and noting that classifications and representations of disease are culturally as well as medically coded.  Combing elements of science, art and social history, Langerman presents a collaboration between disciplines that is rarely seen in South Africa.  She embraces a range of media:  using projection, sculptural and drawn elements, text and digital images as well as objects from museum collections.  Because Subtle Thresholds is concerned with the means through which images are seen (or not) and understood (or misunderstood), the exhibition makes use of devices that heighten vision: scopes, light, shadow and projections.
Subtle Thresholds manages to show potentially fearful items as objects of interest and beauty.  “Infectious diseases are caused by organisms which are as deserving of visual attention as any other species. The exhibition suggests that within an extremely complex biological system, humans represent a very small unit,” says Langerman.  She teaches printmaking and drawing at UCT and has curated and exhibited nationally and internationally.

Lizzie O'Hanlon
Friends of the S A National Gallery
P O Box 2420
Cape Town
Tel No:  021 467 4662
Fax No: 021 467 4680

9th World Art Print Annual 2010 Exhibition

Linda received the following e mail.  This is an Art Exhibition for anyone interested ...............just follow the links.

Dear Friend of Art / Printmaker

Please visit our gallery on the web presenting this international art event

 If you would like to be a part of the upcoming 9th World Art Print Annual 2010
with one year presentation on the web
3 months exhibition
and printed full colour catalogue

 then please have a look at the conditions for participation

and prepare your works in the next 3-4 months...Any comments, suggestions and questions are very welcome.

Yours Georgi

Please pass this message on to anyone you think will be interested.
Thank you very much!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Good Shepherd Church Fund Raising

SASA's painter's outing this past month took place at the Good Shepherd Church below the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.  The church is in poor condition and needs extensive renovations, which will require a considerable sum of money.

A few of the artists who completed their drawings and paintings donated these to the Church.  David Beatty, a SASA member, very kindly donated mounting boards.  Together David and Patricia Fraser mounted and framed paintings or covered the drawings in cellophane ready for auction.  These were then presented to Mr Andrew Wilson who is in charge of the fundraising. He was very pleased with the donation and plans to auction them to get the best possible prices.

Andrew would welcome further works, which may be donated or, as was done with one piece, the artist may prefer to donate a percentage of the sale price to the Church.

Anyone wishing to assist in this worthy cause is welcome to contact Andrew Wilson on 021 762-2464.

 Some of the art works from the outing.

From Fula in Paris ...

Fula Paxinos, one of our members and a Past President of the Society, is currently on sabbatical in Paris!  Enjoy her letter - there are others coming south from la belle France.

Dear Family and friends

So here I am on my much anticipated visit to Paris.  The flight was loooong and cramped but it was great spending time with my friend schoolfriend Joan at Heathrow.  When I went through security to board my flight for Paris, the security bells rang merrily.  The officer ran the paddle up and down my bod several times and then patted me from top to bottom and sideways.  Not satisfied, and despite me telling her that I have a new hip, she repeated the whole procedure with the paddles and then another massage, never mind patting me.  Not unpleasant, but I wonder what she does at her night job.  Then the security guy unpacked and searched my on-board luggage, quel embarrasment, and confiscated my little bortle of wine- the bliksem. 

Eventually Paris at last.

My studio is large and light and has an alcove for my bed and a minute kitchen and a bathroom and storeroom.   BUT,  no computer, no T.V. no sewing machine, no telephone, no fax machine, NO SPARKY   NO FRIENDS.  What was I thinking?  2 months!!!!!! 

Anyway,  on my first night  there was a concert in the theatre in the building.  The pianist was excelltent but the singer not.

The Cite has a theatre complete with stage in which the music residents can perform.
First day- The other South African (who speaks perfect French) and I braved the Metro,  my training in the subways of NY will come in handy.  The stations are big and airy, white tiled and decorated with posters,  display cases with replicas of museum pieces at Louvre Station, very surprising.  Especially the bigger stations which are like huge rabbit warrens, how on earth did they engineer such a system?  Chatelet is a large junction, never mind buskers, their was a 12 piece orchestra playing underground.  My destination was Cligniancourt,, a massive flea market which also featured beautiful antiques, art and the biggest and most specialized, antique and modern, haberdashery store I have ever seen.  No, I did not even buy a single button.  Hows that for self control?

Sat. night- Paris celebtated "Blanche Nuite" -  Sound and Light installations at many locations all over Paris.  I walked (a 10 minute walk) across the bridge to Notre Dame Cathedral to see the installation there.  Large groups of glowing crystals in each of the side chapels in the cathedral.  Stunning and quite unusual and so modern in such a splendid Gothic Church.  

One of the bridges to the island also had an installation of large square transparent boxes piled on top of each other changing colour and Tv screens screening strange light patterns to even stranger music.  And there was a full moon!

First Sunday of the month is free at the Louvre so I and every other tourist were there.Vast halls jam packed with paintings, and people. I had to hand my camera to a youngster who must have been at least 6'6" tall to take a picture of the Mona Lisa for me.  Many of the paintings were massive-  imagine a room full of 40 foot paintings.  (my feet- size 5, do the maths. No I did not have my tape measure with me) Although I marvelled at the talent of the artists I have to say that I eventually couldn't look at any more crucifictions, dying grey men, anguished women and  battle scenes.  It will take at least a week to see everything at the Louvre.

Had to get my hands on a computer but Mon Dieu!  the computer at the Cite does not have a qwerty kepboard. C'est impossible!

Alice, the 3rd S.A. artist has her grandson with her and he let me use his laptop. 
Next episode soon.

Lots of love

Friday, October 30, 2009

Annual Exhibition 2009

Chrystel Read,  Ray Potter and Bill Brown were some of the finalists of our 2009 selection.  All the paintings of the  "Best Of." can be viewed on our web site.

What a wonderful turnout for our Annual Exhibition. This is the society's showcase exhibition of the year. It presents a number of outstanding works by members, selected by a panel of independent judges. Works by many well-known 
and established artists were on show, as well as those of several fresh talents. Amanda Botha, well-known art journalist kindly opened the exhibition and handed out the certificates and trophies to the finalists. Many interested art-  lovers came along to the lovely surrounds of Kirstenbosch Gardens to view the exhibition.  A substantial number of exceptional artworks were sold at very reasonable prices.  A most successful Annual Exhibition.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Welcome to the new blog of the South African Society of Artists.

This blog has been created for the benefit and comments of our Society members and for interested others to see what we do.

In the next few days we will be posting information and will be linked to our brand new website. Your comments and suggestions will be most welcome.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


The South African Society of Artists Annual Exhibition is our showcase exhibition of the year.  It presents a number of outstanding works by members, selected by a panel of independent judges. Works by many well-known and established artists will be on show, as well as those of several fresh talents. We encourage all interested art-lovers to come along to the lovely surrounds of Kirstenbosch Gardens to view the exhibition, and have the opportunity to purchase exceptional artworks at very reasonable prices.

Venue:             The Sanlam Hall, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Newlands
Date:               17th to 25th October 2009
Cost:                Normal Entrance to Gardens Charged, No Additional Fee for Exhibition

*Tuesdays: Free Entry for Pensioners into the Gardens

Enquiries:        Please contact the SASA Secretary, Linda Howe-Ely at (021) 797 2601