Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Jakkals trou met wolf se vrou.

We walked down through the Company Gardens to the National Gallery to see the Tretchikoffs. As we walked up the stairs, a fine rain started falling, all sparkly in the sunshine. I loved the exhibition in the front hall: The Indian in Drum Magazine in the 1950's. If I could have one of those photographs, it would be the one of Tommy Chetty and a teenaged Amaranee Naidoo riding a motorcycle on the "Wall of Death". Her hands flying out at her sides, her eyes shut in bliss. She did stunts way into her eighties.


That signature I know so well. My grandmother had "Lost Orchid" in her hallway, above a dark wood half-moon table with a lustreware vase of fresh flowers, more often than not Gerrie Hoek dahlias from the garden. The rest of the house was impeccable - antiques and Persian rugs. My mother would raise her eyebrows when I mentioned the T-word.


I live with a small print of his "Birth of Venus".


Neither of these are at the gallery. But I loved seeing a host of familiar images in the flesh. The curator leaves judgment up to the observer. "Love it or hate it"...  personally, even if a work of art makes sense investment-wise, if I can't live with it, I don't want it. And there are very few of these paintings that I could live with. But it was a thrill to see the brush strokes, the impasto - I desperately wanted to touch those yellow dahlias.
The colours are still so fresh and vibrant, and yes, often garish. His floral paintings - the vases in particular, reminded me of a favourite painter I had forgotten, Cape Town's Michael Pettit. Very little similarity, just wonderful association with an exhibition of his at the AVA years ago. (A painting I've never forgotten - vases balanced atop of each other and a small black doll on a field of green.)
 
"The People's Painter", he's all around us.

4 comments:

Chris said...

<3

xC

Karen said...

Looking forward to seeing my favourites, but will definitely avert my eyes for some of them!
Have been slow in going, peeved me that the 'people's painter' had a closed opening of SANG invited and poor tretchi's granddaughter had to uninvite the invited on facebook- typical of SANG.

Lily Turner said...

I know! and saw so many photos people had taken that night, but they stopped me after two... so be warned.

Marie said...

Funy, my eyebrows started going up, too:-)