Portia Zvavahera作品

Portia Zvavahera, who in 2017 participated in a three-month residency at London’s Gasworks, is not the first Zimbabwean artist to experience a rollercoaster of emotions while living in the UK. Following his expulsion from the University of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1973, novelist Dambudzo Marechera attended Oxford University, where he encountered ‘drizzling clouds’, ‘castanets of stray sunlight’, drunken revelry and aristocratic entitlement amidst racially segregated Oxford. The twelve figurative paintings in ‘Take Me Deeper’, Zvavahera’s fifth solo exhibition at Stevenson, are similarly expressive of the alienation of first encounter.

An occasion for creative retreat, Zvavahera’s London residency was a period of separation between the artist and her family. The attendant anxiety, as well as her unsure engagement with everyday London, informed the artist’s vividly coloured expressionist paintings. Sumptuous, with a fine sense for balancing gesture and detail, these new paintings are characterized by various descriptions of hopeful containment and ambiguous embrace. In a rare 2015 interview, Zvavahera (who largely avoids media engagements) spoke of the ways her paintings often reflect her life experiences. ‘I paint mostly painful moments,’ she said, adding: ‘It’s like a healing process.’

在2017年参加伦敦Gasworks三个月居住的Portia Zvavahera不是在英国生活的第一位津津有味的津巴布韦艺术家。在1973年被驱逐出罗得西亚大学(现津巴布韦)后,小说家丹布多佐·马雷切拉(Dambudzo Marechera)出席了牛津大学,在那里他遇到了“毛毛雨”,“流浪的阳光响板”,醉酒狂欢以及种族隔离牛津的贵族权利。 Zvavahera在史蒂文生举办的第五次个展“带我深入”中的十二个比喻性绘画同样表达了第一次相遇的异化。



Portia Zvavahera

Portia Zvavahera, My Spirit with You, 2017, oil-based printing ink and oil bar on canvas, 1.5 x 1.7 m. Courtesy: Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa

In the most obviously biographical works on view, juvenile figures are depicted either literally cocooned by parental arms (Onaiwo Vana Vangu [Watch over My Kids], all works 2017) or enfolded by radiating bands of colour (My Spirit with You). Longing cohabits with menace. In Zvandiswededza (It Has Drawn Me Closer), a work of funerary blue and dirty white, an ambiguous figure wearing a red hood extends its Philip Guston-like cartoon hands around an elaborately described female figure in Cinderella dress. The detailing of the dress includes a swirling motif that was block-printed directly onto the canvas using oil-based printing ink, a technique the artist deploys in most of the works on view.

Zvandiswededza is displayed adjacent to Entangled, which shows a silhouetted, grey-blue male figure kissing the ochre face of a woman in white bridal regalia. The man’s Nosferatu-like fingers grope at a breast; the woman’s face shows no pleasure. Cover Me is rendered in warmer tones, mostly bright yellow and soiled purples that lapse into featureless brown, and depicts a white skull astride an ornate gown. The portly figure’s arms are crossed, one limb painted red, the other yellow. A yellow-eyed domestic pet – redolent of South African painter David Koloane’s menacing dogs – sits on the lap of the corpulent and cadaverous figure. Almost causally described, Cover Me is a striking depiction of physical authority and decay.

在最明显的传记作品看来,少年的形象被描绘或由父母的武器(Onaiwo Vana Vangu [观看我的孩子],所有作品)2017或散开颜色带(我的精神与你)。渴望与威胁同居。在“Zvandiswededza”中,一件蔚蓝而肮脏的白色作品,一个戴着红色罩子的暧昧人物将它的Philip Guston般的卡通手伸向灰姑娘礼服上精心描述的女性形象。服装的细节包括一个旋转的图案,使用油性印刷油墨直接在画布上直接印刷,这是艺术家在大部分作品中展开的技术。

Zvandiswededza在Entangled旁边显示,显示一个剪影,灰色蓝色男性人物在白色新娘regalia亲吻一个女人的赭色面孔。那个男人的手指摸着乳房,女人的脸上没有什么乐趣。封面是以温暖的色调呈现的,大部分是明亮的黄色和弄脏的紫色,呈现无特色的棕色,并在华丽的礼服上画一个白色的头骨。 port figure的手臂交叉,一肢涂红色,另一肢呈黄色。南非画家大卫·科洛恩(David Koloane)的凶手 - 一只黄眼睛的国内宠物 - 坐在肥胖的尸体身上。掩盖我几乎原因地描述了物理权威和腐朽。


Portia Zvavahera

Portia Zvavahera, Zvandiswededza (It Has Drawn Me Closer), 2017, oil-based printing ink and oil bar on canvas, 1.7 x 1.7 m. Courtesy: Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa

Pleasure was not my initial response to Zvavahera’s work, neither at the 2013 Venice Biennale, her breakout moment, nor at her subsequent Stevenson debut in 2014, ‘Mavambo Erwendo (Beginning of a Profound Journey)’. Her work, which pivots around exaggerated depictions of female subjects, already mixed descriptions of familial love and ritual with expressions of grotesquery; but her style seemed to me too closely allied to that of her countryman, Misheck Masamvu. Zvavahera’s 2016 solo show at Stevenson, ‘What I See Beyond Feeling’, prompted a rethink: marked by its fuller forms and ambiguous portrayals of love and loss, it announced her mature arrival.

Murudo (Love) is the most arresting work here. Modestly scaled, it depicts a tiny, thumb-sized figure trapped in a white dress made of confident brushstrokes, the edging of which is composed of a printed pattern, billowing across the canvas. Set against a red and orange ground, the vaguely Caucasian woman has no face – she is simply a dirty smudge of pink paint. This woman’s forehead bears a visible wound, detailed in red – one seemingly caused by a casual splatter of grey paint that runs across it. This beauty, reminiscent of Edgar Degas, is dogged by jeopardy.

快乐不是我最初对Zvavahera的作品的回应,不是在2013年的威尼斯双年展,她的突破时刻,也不是在随后的2014年史蒂文森首次亮相“Mavambo Erwendo(开始一个深刻的旅程)”。她的作品围绕着女性主题的夸张描绘,已经将家庭爱情和仪式的描述与荒诞的表情混合在一起;但是她的风格在我看来与她的同胞Misheck Masamvu密不可分。 Zvavahera在史蒂文森举行的2016年个展,“我看到超越的感觉”引发了一个反思:以其丰富的形式和对爱情和损失的模糊描绘,标志着她成熟的到来。

Murudo(Love)是这里最抢手的作品。它适度地缩放,它描绘了一个微小的,拇指大小的身影,穿着白色的衣服,由自信的笔触组成,边缘由印刷图案组成,横跨画布。在红色和橙色的地面上,模糊的白种女人没有脸 - 她只是一个粉红色的油漆污迹。这个女人的前额有一个明显的伤口,用红色描绘 - 看起来是由一个灰色的油漆横贯其间的飞溅引起的。这种让人联想到埃德加·德加(Edgar Degas)的美貌受到了威胁。

Main image: Portia Zvavahera, Kuzvarwa Patsva (Rebirth), 2017, (detail), oil-based printing ink and oil bar on canvas, 170 x 99cm. Courtesy: Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa

Portia Zvavahera

Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa

By Sean O'Toole

Review - 18 Jan 2018 - from FRIEZE.com