VerDure

Sandy Thomas, Michelle Rynders, Rose Deary, Sue Gordon, Margurite Ward, Kate Smith, Kate Malan, Billie McNaughton, Tori Stowe

If you leave a patch of earth open, something will grow. Especially if you plant seeds and water them. Then many things will grow. Sometimes, but not often, even the seeds you planted. Most of what comes up might seem like weeds, but this is just nature telling you what would be easier to grow wherever you are.
The past two years have created a vacuum in many spheres of life, everyone is waiting for normal to return, but it is gone. Gardeners knew this first because over the past couple of years the seasons have shifted by two months – summer leaching into winter, and winter into spring. The world has changed. Is changing. What we have now is new. We can’t stop and wait for everything to return, we need to throw down all our seeds and see what grows. Next.
The theme of our group exhibition is: botany, symbolising growth and endurance.

Genre: Visual Arts

Medium: Multimedia

Duration: 8 – 31 July 2021

Sadly we can’t invite you to join us in person. Instead we invite you to enjoy the online exhibit.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

BILLY MCNOUGHTON

If I were a plant, oh golly me

Which green thing would I choose to be

There’s no doubt, I would be a big tree

Possible a mangrove down by the sea

They live on the edge, just like me

A buffer from storms, a protector be

Roots a haven to which to flee

A carbon hoarder to the tenth degree

A beach bum, just like me

Yes, I’d be a mangrove tree

Art is my passion. What an incredible privilege to be the custodian of this gift that enables us to lighten up the lives around us. We share the grief and fear of those around us, but open the window to that which is constant, beautiful, peaceful and give the sense of normality and hope that now seems so distant.

MICHELL RYNDERS

Age: 42

Occupation: potter/ sculptor

If you were a plant, what kind of plant and why? a dandelion, because i am all over the place and quite scattered

What colour is money? different colours

What is the role of the artist in this peculiar time? to unwind the minds and souls and bring piece and serenity to who ever looks upon art.

How does your work play this role? With my mystical mushrooms, i wish to transport the mind into the magic of the forest.

What is inspiring you at this time? The fragile side to life as it is. porcelain is fragile yet strong when fired to high temperatures.

What vegetable would you be? A Cucumber, i retain a lot of water.

What superpower would you choose from plants? Healing by consumption

A word for 2021: chin up!

TORI STOWE

Age: half way

Occupation: artist

If you were a plant, what kind of a plant would you be and why? I would be an amathungulu: full of thorns, and flowers, and bugs and tiny little fruits that no one knows what to do with except birds

What colour is money? Money is the colour of who

What is the role of the artist in society in this particular, peculiar time? Life at the moment is like a puzzle, many different pieces shifting in their box, it is the role of the artist to find the pieces that fit together, to try to understand and fix and thus be a part of building something better

How does your work play this role? I don’t know yet, but it is helping me navigate the changes

What is inspiring you at, and about, this time? I love change, because change brings new, and we needed new

What vegetable would do a better job than (person of your choice)? A potato would do a better job than Ramaphosa because it could feed people (and have better ideas, and grow, and…)

What superpower would you choose from plants? I’d trap and digest things like a venus fly trap so I could use everything that annoys me as fuel

A word for 2021: Surprising

KATE SMITH

Occupation: Ceramicist and mixed media artist
If you were a plant, what kind of a plant would you be and why? A rose. Delicate at times, but thorny (defensive and protective) at other times.
What colour is money? Green
What is the role of the artist in society in this particular, peculiar time and how does your work play this role? People need joy in their lives and by using colour I feel my work brings joy to the darkest of days. My work is playful and humorous at times too. I like to make people smile.
What is inspiring you at, and about this time? People are closing in to their communities and are wanting to support each other, more than ever before. As a small business that’s really encouraging and it inspires me to bring something joyful and meaningful to people in need.
What superpower would you choose from plants? The ability to regenerate and continue growing.
A word for 2021: Grow with the flow…

MARGUERITTE WARD

Age: 35

Occupation: Tarot Reader

If you were a plant, what kind of a plant would you be and why? Some kind of daisy probably. Something dull but medicinal. Slightly bitter but good for you, like Mugwort.

What colour is money? Vaguely the colour of toast? At least that’s what my money turns into.

What is the role of the artist in society in this particular, peculiar time? To connect people who are having a shared experience. To experience a piece of art and be able say “same”.

How does your work play this role? I love how self-contained a bulb is. How everything it needs to get started is already inside it. And that with a little time in a dark place it just activates this cracking open and blooming of something so alive that you can’t help but feel the magic. And I hope that someone can look at what I’ve made and say “same”.

What is inspiring you at, and about, this time? Resilience. There were many times in the past that I have said “I don’t know what I would do if x, y or z were to happen” and now I know the answer to that. And I’ve seen it happen in every person around me. It’s truly inspiring.

What vegetable would you be? I think potatoes would be better at just about everything. I mean, I’m basically a potato and I’m doing a great job.

What superpower would you choose from plants? To turn sunshine into food

SUE GORDON

I don’t see art as work because I’m just a dabbler, doing it for fun. This exhibition is a giant step. Sally Scott is my current teacher and inspiration; I’m also indebted to Ann Harris, botanical art teacher extraordinaire. I studied art at Rhodes (even taught it briefly), then life took over. Discovering botanical art only 15 years ago was a revelation, but poor self-confidence is a continuing obstacle.

Occupation: Teacher-librarian-copy editor-concert promoter. Now retired

If you were a plant, what kind of plant and why? A hybrid of aloes ferox and peglerae. Thrive in drought and secretive mountain spaces.

What is the role of the artist in this time? Artists of all kinds have provided balm for the souls of the sick, the anxious and the isolated – especially those artists who provide serenity/beauty/hope and a bond with nature.

Plant superpower: resilience and wondrous complexity.

SANDRA THOMAS

Born 1960, is a full time fine artist living in Bathurst.

‘If I were a plant, I’d be a cactus full of protective thorns to keep all the sh***y people away from me. As an artist I am showing people without sight to see what they are missing. I am enjoying the quietness of this time and for today just get on with it.’

 

KATHRYN SMITH

I believe that one of the roles of artists at this time is to celebrate growth, renewal and survival; and to also be a reminder that everything in this world is cyclical, the seasons come and go as do fires, wars, famines and plagues…but, that if we stop and really look, there is always beauty and hope to be found.

With all the fear and stress that we are currently living with, mindfulness is needed now more than ever.

My work is about encouraging us to stop and ‘take a moment’ and, for just a little while to stop worrying about everything, to take a breath and to lose yourself in the incredible detail that is within all of nature; these beautiful intricacies which we are all too often blind to as we rush past in our technology-driven and fear-laden world.

Working with these plants in this way has enriched my life and changed for the better my experience of my neighbourhood and city, I now pay far more attention to what is in flower, what has turned to seed and which buds have stared sprouting…

If we take care of it, Mother Nature will always be there to nurture both body and spirit.

ROSE DEARY

Rose Deary Fine Art (fb) (insta)

Occupation: A full time studio worker

Age: Old enough to be vaccinated first and young enough to still believe in miracles.

If you were a plant, what kind of plant would you be and why?

Trees are my Totem

Indigenous trees are a part of the Albany thicket, these are my ancestral roots, it is a part of my DNA, it is the air I breathe and the dubbeltjie in my soul.

What is inspiring you at and about this time?

I paint what I know and lived as a child and I now hope to awaken the viewers senses to the light of this natural raw beauty.

Many people have roots in the Eastern Cape and long to take a memory with them when they move onto new horizons.

I paint for them and for myself.

So you see, if you believe

‘Money can grow on trees’.