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Solo exhibition at Absa Gallery

 Racine Edwardes

By Racine Edwardes,  Caxton Publishers.


JOBURG – Now on at the Absa Gallery, situated in the city, is a solo exhibition by one of Johannesburg's very own artists. 


Wits graduate and international artist, Mandy Johnston, is showing her new body of work in a solo show.

The exhibition titled In the presence of absence, reflects the governance and negotiation of space while still highlighting current, basic and inherent ideas about the human condition.

Johnston uses materials and objects to speak about formation and fabrication of value, and makes references to very intimate, personal experiences as well as issues existing in society and politics today.

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“Absence suggests experience, and traces are its subtle cues that reveal this in our environments and points to the existence of something that is no longer present. There are often feelings of loss, nostalgia or fear associated with absence,” said Johnston.

The work consists of materials and objects found by the artist, each telling a story and depicting how conditioned people can become due to economic factors.

“I am formally interested in the use of alternative materials in art-making because of the contextual values, definitions and symbolisms attributed to them. I enjoy researching the physical world and finding interesting connections and contradictions in the values attributed to objects and materials,” she explained.

ART: Remember Mono by Mandy Johnston.

ART: Remember Mono by Mandy Johnston.

A key piece in this body of work is the Weighting Room, a sculpture of two young boys made entirely of copper wire, reflecting her interest in the use of unconventional materials.

Johnston references this piece to a tragic story in which nine boys died in an illegal mining accident in the Northern Cape. The mine shaft was too small for all 11 of the boys to mine simultaneously so they had to take turns sitting in a waiting room. Nine boys died when the shaft collapsed and only two boys who were in the waiting room survived.

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“Assisting artists develop their abilities which is a key driver for us. Contributing to the growth and sustainability of the craft is equally important,” said Dr Paul Bayliss, Absa art and museum curator.

The Absa Gallery has become a space for both well-known and up-and-coming artists to showcase their work, and this exhibition is one to see until 28 October.

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 Racine Edwardes

Racine Edwardes  

Caxton Publishers.

My journey in journalism began a short time ago, but it has been one that has allowed me to grow a passion I never knew I had. After I matriculated I was pushed to study towards a degree – something I did not want to do at all. I chose to go the communications route because I thought it would be easier, but I was wrong. Even though it was not as easy as I thought it would be, it was during the first year of my studies that I discovered that journalism was, in fact, the career for me. Once entering the working world, I found it was something I really did enjoy. I also discovered that I have a particular skill for entertainment writing and that's why City Buzz is the newspaper for me.