Danielle
Malherbe

 Oil on Canvas

Danielle's paintings intergrate three aspects or themes that have bcome interwoven in this series of paintings; Fristl the notion of Arcadia, as a setting or landscape element with particular preoccupations, and secondly, the presecne of water, traditionally in the form of fresh water srings in arcadia. Water, which posses its own rich symbolism, reinforces and echoes the preoccupations of Arcadian landscape. In these paintings, the images of water have been translated into contemporary, man-made swimming pools. The third issue that emerges is the post-apartheid South African context that provies fertile ground for arcadian pre-occupations and sensibilities 

 

- Arcadia

These paintings are pastoral in the preoccupations. They belong to a particular artistic approach that attempts to reconcile one eith the world through an imaginative process that calls up the image of paradise or Arcadia.

 Arcadian landscape as a part of the pastoral tradition is defined by its rural or garden-like setting and by a bitter-sweet or elegiac inflection. An elegy is a verse or a song of lamentation perfected by the Latin poet Virgil. This tranquil, yet sad tone is due to the lost or unattainable aspect of paradise. Arcadia has come to mean 'paradise lost' . It is as much about a particular genre or setting as it is about an emotional predisposition. The paintings in this exhibition, true to this tradition, are imbued with the sense of loss or nostalgia for an unimagined golden past. 

 The scenes in these paintings, although, contemporary and suburban, have elements that remind one of a bygone era, or a subtle reverse process as nature reclaims territory, through weathering, rust, leaf-litter or some other decay. These elements evoke a subtle sense of regret , even sadness.   

 

 

- The Pool

The second theme and most prominent motif that appears in the paintings is the image of water, specifically the swimming pool. A pool of water has considerable aesthetic appeal. People are drawn to water because of its innate beauty- its visual appeal, its ability to reflect light and act as a mirror, its sound and refreshing coolness and unequallable tatse. 

The pool in a landscape often acts as a focal point. Traditionally the pool in an artifically constructed landscape, namely a garden, was given a position of importance, usually centeral, around which paths and lawns would be arranged. The desire for a centeral focus is linked to the ancient notion that in the beginning a temple, mountain or garden marked the centre of the Earth, and at the centre of the Garden (Paradise) there was a fountain. Because all human subjectivity the source of all perception, he centre of the world is also our centre, in other words, the centre out there was a projection of the center within.

 

- Post Apartheid Arcadian sensibility

The third issue that these paintings are attempting to deal with is the context that we find ourselves in. Post-apartheid South Africa has experienced a shift of power, resulting in a de-centred, ambiguous white identity. These paintings begin to work through this melancholia   

  

 

 

  

 

 

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