RUNNING TOWARDS YOURSELF – 2013    Casa Labia Gallery, curated by Joao Ferreira    Unconsciously, humans are in constant flux to balance, or at least harmonize, the feminine and masculine sides of their being. This inherent duality is an emotional challenge and a psychological journey towards manifesting inner peace. The vehicle of this road to inner peace is the relationship one has with oneself – the “Self”. By exploring this internal dialogue of the matters of the soul, one provides inner support, balance and wellbeing. It is a commitment to continuously reconnect to oneself and to regard and live as if the inner life is real.    The portraits portray an array of positive and negative, light and dark emotion. There is a constant desire for and repulsion of union and harmony between the feminine and masculine Self. The artwork challenges the viewer to question and reflect on the inner life.    The more posed portraits show ‘masking’; the other process-based portraits reveal what lives in the unconscious and is therefore more authentic. The contrast of the two styles creates ambiguity and juxtaposition.    Ultimately, growth is a choice, a conscious decision, to establish a personal connection to the Self. In doing so, creating space for new possibilities and self-care.    Media: a series of portraits using superior-quality Golden Acrylics on canvas. Size: 75 x 95 cm.    
       
     
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  RUNNING TOWARDS YOURSELF – 2013    Casa Labia Gallery, curated by Joao Ferreira    Unconsciously, humans are in constant flux to balance, or at least harmonize, the feminine and masculine sides of their being. This inherent duality is an emotional challenge and a psychological journey towards manifesting inner peace. The vehicle of this road to inner peace is the relationship one has with oneself – the “Self”. By exploring this internal dialogue of the matters of the soul, one provides inner support, balance and wellbeing. It is a commitment to continuously reconnect to oneself and to regard and live as if the inner life is real.    The portraits portray an array of positive and negative, light and dark emotion. There is a constant desire for and repulsion of union and harmony between the feminine and masculine Self. The artwork challenges the viewer to question and reflect on the inner life.    The more posed portraits show ‘masking’; the other process-based portraits reveal what lives in the unconscious and is therefore more authentic. The contrast of the two styles creates ambiguity and juxtaposition.    Ultimately, growth is a choice, a conscious decision, to establish a personal connection to the Self. In doing so, creating space for new possibilities and self-care.    Media: a series of portraits using superior-quality Golden Acrylics on canvas. Size: 75 x 95 cm.    
       
     

RUNNING TOWARDS YOURSELF – 2013

Casa Labia Gallery, curated by Joao Ferreira

Unconsciously, humans are in constant flux to balance, or at least harmonize, the feminine and masculine sides of their being. This inherent duality is an emotional challenge and a psychological journey towards manifesting inner peace. The vehicle of this road to inner peace is the relationship one has with oneself – the “Self”. By exploring this internal dialogue of the matters of the soul, one provides inner support, balance and wellbeing. It is a commitment to continuously reconnect to oneself and to regard and live as if the inner life is real.

The portraits portray an array of positive and negative, light and dark emotion. There is a constant desire for and repulsion of union and harmony between the feminine and masculine Self. The artwork challenges the viewer to question and reflect on the inner life.

The more posed portraits show ‘masking’; the other process-based portraits reveal what lives in the unconscious and is therefore more authentic. The contrast of the two styles creates ambiguity and juxtaposition.

Ultimately, growth is a choice, a conscious decision, to establish a personal connection to the Self. In doing so, creating space for new possibilities and self-care.

Media: a series of portraits using superior-quality Golden Acrylics on canvas. Size: 75 x 95 cm.

 

Running towards yourself 6
       
     
Running towards yourself 6

Golden Acrylics on canvas
75 X 95 cm
2013

REVIEW

RUNNING TOWARDS YOURSELF is the product of artist Natasja de Wet's 18-month long, in-depth exploration into the fluidity, ambiguity and tensions at play in psychological constructions of personal and especially, gendered, identity. This series of portraits is also a response to the existentially reflexive conflict around where the Self is located during acts of looking. Where and what is the inner Self as it looks at the outside world? When it gazes inward? When it is passively the object of an Other’s gaze? And is it truly either wholly masculine or entirely feminine, all the time? De Wet probes these gender distinctions and questions their validity as accepted foundation stones of identity and ‘reality’, particularly as regards the workings of individual psyche.

Since 2006, when she first discovered Psychophonetics (a method of examining and using verbal sounds to enhance self-awareness and create deeper meaning), De Wet has been particularly interested in the notion that there resides in us all both an 'inner male' and an 'inner female': fundamental aspects of shared human psychology that are no less dynamic and influential for being discouraged, disavowed or outright taboo. Begun in late 2011, this series of portraits thematically continues De Wet's abiding idea that individual human experience is essentially a ‘journey’ or process which, whether undertaken mindfully or not, daily entails forging an emotional relationship and understanding with the Self – a process that rests on the uneasy reconciliation betweena multiplicity of “selves” (both male and female);  interior and exterior realities;  appearance and experience; what we are with others and on our own; how we are perceived by others and what and who we perceive others to be.

Without titles and depicting instantly recognisable common human emotions, Running Towards Yourself is an invitation into primal territory – that fluid “elsewhere” lurking just beyond conscious thought where individual identity and self-knowledge originate. De Wet's multi-faceted raw self-delvings create a “universal face” and destabilise accepted formulations around our understanding of what it is to be human – what it is to say “I”, “You” and “We”. By dint of their number and that of the emotional states they represent, these portraits suggest that any notion of one “constant” or “true” “self” is a myth.  Narrow linguistic constraints (such as “male” and “female”, “good” and “bad”) constrain and curb true self-knowledge and ultimately, cauterise and impoverish our experience and understanding of self.

The evocative nature of the series is due in no small part to De Wet's use of colour to portray mood, emotion and her interior world. For her, each shade has personal rather than traditional significance and her selection process is intuitive: green represents mental calm, for example; purple and violet express sexuality, sadness and plumbing existential depths; red conveys warmth, pain and love; blue symbolises introspection and inner peace. Combined with her signature drip technique, strategic employment of blank canvas space and use of different applications of brushstroke, contrasts are bold and vibrant and compositions feature engaging tensions between dynamism and stasis, chaos and serenity, what is blatant and what is insinuated.

The result is a body of work layered with pathos and exuberance in equal measure. If there is disquieting vulnerability on view, so is there undiluted courage. Ultimately, to look at these portraits is also to be viewed by them. And in the exchange, there's a fleeting brush with a myriad selves and a disquieting reminder of human nature's astonishing complexity.

Review by Laura Twiggs - independent author, writer, editor.

Running towards yourself 13
       
     
Running towards yourself 13

Golden Acrylics on canvas
75 X 95 cm
2013

The wonderful South African Artist, Tracy Payne honoured me by opening my exhibition ‘RUNNING TOWARDS YOURSELF’ and she read this poem by Martha Graham, which I still find very appropriate

THERE IS A VITALITY,

A LIFE FORCE,

A QUICKENING THAT IS TRANSLATED THROUGH YOU INTO ACTION,

AND THERE IS ONLY ONE OF YOU IN ALL TIME.

THIS EXPRESSION IS UNIQUE,

AND IF YOU BLOCK IT,

IT WILL NEVER EXIST THROUGH ANY OTHER MEDIUM;

AND BE LOST.

THE WORLD WILL NOT HAVE IT.

IT IS NOT YOUR BUSINESS TO DETERMINE HOW GOOD IT IS, NOT HOW IT COMPARES WITH OTHER EXPRESSIONS.

IT IS YOUR BUSINESS TO KEEP IT YOURS CLEARLY AND DIRECTLY,

TO KEEP THE CHANNEL OPEN.

Martha Graham was an American modern dancer and choreographer.

Running towards yourself 2
       
     
Running towards yourself 2

Golden Acrylics on canvas
75 X 95 cm
2013

Running towards yourself 22
       
     
Running towards yourself 22

Golden Acrylics on canvas
75 X 95 cm
2013

Running towards yourself 16
       
     
Running towards yourself 16

Golden Acrylics on canvas
75 X 95 cm
2013

Running towards yourself 5
       
     
Running towards yourself 5

Golden Acrylics on canvas
75 X 95 cm
2013

Running towards yourself 9
       
     
Running towards yourself 9

Golden Acrylics on canvas
75 X 95 cm
2013

Running towards yourself 7
       
     
Running towards yourself 7

Golden Acrylics on canvas
75 X 95 cm
2013

Running towards yourself 17
       
     
Running towards yourself 17

Golden Acrylics on canvas
75 X 95 cm
2013

Running towards yourself 14
       
     
Running towards yourself 14

Golden Acrylics on canvas
75 X 95 cm
2013

Running towards yourself 8
       
     
Running towards yourself 8

Golden Acrylics on canvas
75 X 95 cm
2013

Running towards yourself 23
       
     
Running towards yourself 23

Golden Acrylics on canvas
75 X 95 cm
2013

Running towards yourself 19
       
     
Running towards yourself 19

Golden Acrylics on canvas
75 X 95 cm
2013

Running towards yourself 12
       
     
Running towards yourself 12

Golden Acrylics on canvas
75 X 95cm
2013

Running towards yourself 28
       
     
Running towards yourself 28

Golden Acrylics on canvas
75 X 95 cm
2013

RUNNING TOWARDS YOURSELF 29
       
     
RUNNING TOWARDS YOURSELF 29

Golden Acrylics on canvas
75 X 95 cm
2013

RUNNING TOWARDS YOURSELF 27
       
     
RUNNING TOWARDS YOURSELF 27

Golden Acrylics on canvas
75 X 95 cm
2013

RUNNING TOWARDS YOURSELF 6
       
     
RUNNING TOWARDS YOURSELF 6

Golden Acrylics on canvas
75 X 95 cm
2013

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RUNNING TOWARDS YOURSELF 3

Golden Acrylics on canvas
75 X 95 cm
2013

RUNNING TOWARDS YOURSELF 1
       
     
RUNNING TOWARDS YOURSELF 1

Golden Acrylics on canvas
75 X 95 cm
2013

REVIEW

RUNNING TOWARDS YOURSELF is the product of artist Natasja de Wet's 18-month long, in-depth exploration into the fluidity, ambiguity and tensions at play in psychological constructions of personal and especially, gendered, identity. This series of portraits is also a response to the existentially reflexive conflict around where the Self is located during acts of looking. Where and what is the inner Self as it looks at the outside world? When it gazes inward? When it is passively the object of an Other’s gaze? And is it truly either wholly masculine or entirely feminine, all the time? De Wet probes these gender distinctions and questions their validity as accepted foundation stones of identity and ‘reality’, particularly as regards the workings of individual psyche.

Since 2006, when she first discovered Psychophonetics (a method of examining and using verbal sounds to enhance self-awareness and create deeper meaning), De Wet has been particularly interested in the notion that there resides in us all both an 'inner male' and an 'inner female': fundamental aspects of shared human psychology that are no less dynamic and influential for being discouraged, disavowed or outright taboo. Begun in late 2011, this series of portraits thematically continues De Wet's abiding idea that individual human experience is essentially a ‘journey’ or process which, whether undertaken mindfully or not, daily entails forging an emotional relationship and understanding with the Self – a process that rests on the uneasy reconciliation betweena multiplicity of “selves” (both male and female);  interior and exterior realities;  appearance and experience; what we are with others and on our own; how we are perceived by others and what and who we perceive others to be.

Without titles and depicting instantly recognisable common human emotions, Running Towards Yourself is an invitation into primal territory – that fluid “elsewhere” lurking just beyond conscious thought where individual identity and self-knowledge originate. De Wet's multi-faceted raw self-delvings create a “universal face” and destabilise accepted formulations around our understanding of what it is to be human – what it is to say “I”, “You” and “We”. By dint of their number and that of the emotional states they represent, these portraits suggest that any notion of one “constant” or “true” “self” is a myth.  Narrow linguistic constraints (such as “male” and “female”, “good” and “bad”) constrain and curb true self-knowledge and ultimately, cauterise and impoverish our experience and understanding of self.

The evocative nature of the series is due in no small part to De Wet's use of colour to portray mood, emotion and her interior world. For her, each shade has personal rather than traditional significance and her selection process is intuitive: green represents mental calm, for example; purple and violet express sexuality, sadness and plumbing existential depths; red conveys warmth, pain and love; blue symbolises introspection and inner peace. Combined with her signature drip technique, strategic employment of blank canvas space and use of different applications of brushstroke, contrasts are bold and vibrant and compositions feature engaging tensions between dynamism and stasis, chaos and serenity, what is blatant and what is insinuated.

The result is a body of work layered with pathos and exuberance in equal measure. If there is disquieting vulnerability on view, so is there undiluted courage. Ultimately, to look at these portraits is also to be viewed by them. And in the exchange, there's a fleeting brush with a myriad selves and a disquieting reminder of human nature's astonishing complexity.

Review by Laura Twiggs - independent author, writer, editor.