Cape art picks: August 26 2011

Popular street art claims gallery space this week, while a new show focuses on the effects of war.

■ With Banksy having long defaced the wall dividing the gallery and the street, “street art” is now a regular on most of Cape Town galleries’ rosters. Urban Aesthetic explores the emergence of this new artistic subculture, which combines street art, graffiti art, underground art, popular art, design and contemporary art.

The exhibition presents a series of large paintings created by local hipsters Ricky Lee Gordon (aka Freddy Sam) and Paul Senyol, working both individually and in collaboration.
The founder of Woodstock creative space A Word of Art, Gordon is best known for his commitment to artistic urban renewal reflected in his large-scale murals, which decorate walls from Cape Town to New York City. In contrast, Senyol is perhaps better-known for his work as a mixed-media artist in group exhibitions here and abroad. A not-so-well-known fact is that his work has also on occasion featured on walls and is strongly influenced by the design associated with skateboarding and punk rock. Both artists have just returned from excursions abroad and promise to bring a global outlook to the genre.

Worldart Gallery, 54 Church Street, Cape Town. Until ­September 3.

■ Early in the year, Christo Doherty caused a stir with Bos, an exhibition of constructed images based on the experience of soldiers in South Africa’s “bush war.” Lauded by some as an important attempt to give those who fought in the war as conscripts their history back, the exhibition was also heavily criticised for “whitewashing the bush war”. Michaelis graduate David Brits bravely explores similar territory with his exhibition Victor ­Victor. Like Doherty’s Bos, the exhibition tells the white side of the story. It is, however, a deeply personal reflection. Drawing on his own personal family history, Brits combines found images posted by ex-servicemen on Facebook and torn images from natural history collections with his own sketches to create a new vocabulary that meshes fact and fiction, obscenity and pathos.

iArt Gallery Wembley: A ­Project Room for Contemporary Art, Wembley Square, corner ­Wembley and Solan streets, Gardens, Cape Town. Until September 21.

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