Painting/
Drawing
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Title: Him, table cloth and an extract from a dream
Meduim: Oil and wax on canvas
Size: 182 cm x 182cm
Date: 2001
 
This work was part of an exhibition were I wanted to look at Cape Town the city I live in , in terms of Jungian theory of the Animus (masculine) and Anima (feminine). To investigate the psyche of a city. In traditional analytical psychology the psyche is always trying to create balance and health in the individual. I wanted to see how this would relate to a city. In this case Cape Town, a city that in many cases is extremely unbalanced. There is huge disparity between rich and poor. Areas were violence is occurring regularly to other areas which are relatively safe. In many ways since the first free elections in 1994 the city has been trying to establish a new model for it's self. A post apartheid identity. I wanted to look at the struggle of a city in trying to deal with it's past and how it tries to move towards a more whole, balanced and integrated future. The work then is essentially about healing.

In this particular work. "Him, table cloth and an extract from a dream." There is a basic symbol of a figure. A head (smaller green square) and body (larger grid like block). I think this basic shape was influenced by the Australian painter, Sidney Nolan series of Ned Kelly. I wasn't something I did intentionally but after I finish the work. It seem quite evident. Nolan painted Kelly with this square for a heads and a rectangular body. Perhaps the reference to the violence of Kelly's life resonated with me.

The square head has a double meaning here. It can also be read as a reduced version of table mountain with the table cloth above. The table cloth is the cloud that sits on top of Table mountain when the South Easter wind blows. The South Easter traditionally blows the smog and pollution from the city out to sea. So in a away it cleans and heals the city. So this work is about healing. The white on top of the "head" can also be read in terms of the healing model when hands are laid on top of the head by a healer and healing energy is passed to the patient. Healing energy is usually associated with the colour white.

The body section is divided into squares which has reference to the traditional motif of a checked table cloth. A table cloth is traditionally a reference to the domestic and the feminine The grid can also be read as the grid structure of a city. i.e. roads The rather energetic brush swirls on top of the "body" is related to repressed, dark energy being awakened and released. The extract from a dream was from a case study of a male patient in psychotherapy who was in the process of trying to heal the imbalances between his animus and anima These imbalances were due to violent trauma in the patients early childhood.