WHEN THERE ARE NO WORDS

Curatorial Statement
“When there are no words” is a solo exhibition presented by curator and artist Olwethu De Vos. Through the exhibition De Vos contemplates a momentary loss of words and proposes art as a profound form of expression and communication.Existence often hands us varied encounters at distinct times of our lives, and time frequently presents us with flashes that tend to render us speechless. Taking countless forms, the moments are sometimes poignant and painful experiences that may overwhelm us, moments of immense joy, or moments of boundless beauty, and at other occasions, silence is found in the most mundane of experiences.

De Vos’s comprehensive body of work encompasses emotive and evocative elements within her exploration of present and predetermined philosophies of beauty and gender within spatial, cultural, and capitalist modes of being, represented through various renditions of figures and portraiture in delicate and deliberate artistic expressions.
The featured works further include her current exploration of abstraction where she brings together varied visual elements, layering, and combining them in her exploration of the exertion of predetermined cultural practices on the human body during puberty.

De Vos inquisitively explores nuanced rites of passage and their effect on the human body physically, collectively, emotionally, and psychologically. The exhibition reveals the remarkable depth of De Vos’s thoughts that she has trouble relaying verbally but renders visually. Using radiant dark backgrounds, distinguished segments of the human body and an ingenious engagement with texture, hues and enticing, detailed pattern, De Vos undertakes a provocative and stimulating showcase that manifests as a moment of thought-provoking reflection in attempts of comprehending the existence or absence of a superior philosophical truth regarding the human body.

~ Curatorial Statement by Tshegofatso Seoka

When there are no words II (Quadriptych)

“Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” A question most are aware of in part to the popularized tales of the grim brothers. A question many asks themselves when no one is watching; “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” And what shall the answer be ‘you’, Yes, you are the fairest of them all!
Now another question…Who amongst us is the bravest of them all?, courageous enough to show
their entirety for all to see, is it you, are you the bravest of them all?

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall, Who’s the fairest of them all?

Absence of Serenity

“When there are no words”, a body of work by Olwethu De Vos confronts and questions if we are indeed courageous enough to be seen in our entirety by the world. De Vos, through this body of work positions herself as an investigator as she amplifies that part of ourselves that question if we are the fairest of them all. Characterized as a brave endeavor, De Vos forces us to interrogate our biological, anatomical, physiological as well as psychological selves to determine if we are indeed in line with the centered model (the perfect), while cross- examining our malleability to the model representations of beauty.

“Body politics are often embedded in varied epistemologies, but the ones that govern most are split between postcolonial (man) and feminist (woman) theories of relativity. However, De Vos abandons the binary categories and attempts at viewing the body from a more universal lens, inclusive of the previously marginalized LGBTQ2+ as well as othered identities and lived experiences that are often disregarded.”

Embrace

Existent in life are specific determining factors on both the polarities of gender that serve as model representation of femininity and masculinity. The ideal model representation of woman is often one who has a limited waist size that is directly unproportionate to the size of her glutes as well as her breasts. While the ideal model representation of man is one who swings a large phallus. Through the ingenious placement of staples in the artworks such as “Snatch, Snack, Catch”, “Maragrita on a Tuesday”, and “The neighbors window”, De Vos not only calls attention to these notions of the ideal and the model, but also question the role society and culture play in the institutionalization of these

conceptions. With the staples placed in such a manner as to suggest a ruler, an apparatus of measurement, the artworks further highlight the marginalization and misplacement of those who find themselves on the opposite side of the model.

“So what do you do when you find yourself on the opposite side of the model, when you are not the fairest of them all, when your brave leap into self-actualization yields unpleasurable results. When the leading semiotics of beauty, sexiness, and desirability leave you at the periphery of the norm. What do you do then?”

Love in Life and Death

The Ideal Bun

“When there are no words”, a body of work by Olwethu De Vos confronts and questions if we are indeed courageous enough to be seen in our entirety by the world. De Vos, through this body of work positions herself as an investigator as she amplifies that part of ourselves that question if we are the fairest of them all. Characterized as a brave endeavor, De Vos forces us to interrogate our biological, anatomical, physiological as well as psychological selves to determine if we are indeed in line with the centered model (the perfect), while cross- examining our malleability to the model representations of beauty.

Exhibition Catalogue

A piece of Chance

Pastel, charcoal, staples copper and blowtorch on board

150 x 90cm

R28 000.00

The Absence of Serenity

Pastel, charcoal, staples copper and blowtorch on board

150 x 90cm

R28 000.00

Am I afraid? Yes. Will It stop me? No

Pastel, charcoal, staples copper and blowtorch on board

150 x 90cm

R28 000.00

When there are no words II (Quadriptych)

Pastel, charcoal, staples copper and blowtorch on board

374 x 150cm (150x150cm | 150x90cm| 150x74cm| 150x60cm)

R115 000.00

Love In Life and Death (Triptych)

Pastel, charcoal, staples copper and blowtorch on board

150 x 350cm (150x100cm | 150x50cm| 150x100cm)

R86 000.00

Margarita on Tuesday

Pastel, charcoal, staples copper and blowtorch on board
90 x 95cm
2021
R20 000.00

Snack, Snatch, Catch

Pastel, charcoal, staples copper and blowtorch on board
90 x 94cm
2021
R20 000.00

Embrace

Pastel, charcoal, staples copper and blowtorch on board
88 x 90cm
2021
R20 000.00

The Neighbours Window

Pastel, charcoal, staples copper and blowtorch on board
90 x 88cm
2021
R20 000.00

Puberty: Knock knock, whose there?....Culture!

Ink
Copper
Staples
Steel wool
Blow Torched Board
90 x 95cm
2021
R15 000.00

“Puberty: Fountain of Wisdom”

Ink, Copper, Staples, Steel Wool and Blowtorch on board
42 x 36 x 12cm
2021
R15 000.00

“Puberty: Rites of Passage”

Ink, Copper, Staples, Steel Wool and Blowtorch on board
46 x 43 x 12cm
2021
R15 000.00

“Puberty: Unheard pockets of prayers”

ink, copper and steel wool on board
59 x 51 x 12cm
2021
R16 000.00

“Puberty: Against the grains ”

Acrylic, copper, and blowtorch on board
70 x 66 x 8cm
2021
R16 000.00

Puberty: Canal of our generations

Ink, copper, staples, and blowtorch on board
48 x 49 x 10cm
2021
R15 000.00

Puberty: Seeds of our generation

Copper and blowtorch on board

58 x 46 x 12cm

2021

R15 000.00

“Puberty: Adult Bible, Chapter5,Verse20”

ink, copper, and steel wool and blowtorch on board
60 x 36 x 16cm
2021
R15 000.00

“Puberty: Scrutiny of a woman”

ink, copper, and steel wool and blowtorch on board
53 x 45 x 16cm
2021
R15 000.00

Address

1 Hillcrest Ave,
Blairgowrie
Randburg, 2194

+27 79 503 9522

Gallery Hours:

Thursday – Saturday: 10:00-14:00
Sundays: 11:00-14:00
Monday – Wednesday: Closed (Special Appointments can be arranged)

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