A new exhibition by the Overstrand Artist Collective entitled 20/20 – hindsight / insight / foresight opened last week at the FynArts Gallery. The collective statement of the seven artists – Marian Binder, Andrée Bonthuys, Leli Hoch, Lyn Mossop, Val Myburgh, Yoko Reijn and Kali van der Merwe – reads: With hindsight we gain insight and hopefully go forward into 2020 with the foresight necessary for healing ourselves, our ways and our precious environment.

Marian Binder’s sister, Susan Longridge and her daughter, Lisa Witherden in front of Yoko Reijn’s colourful abstracts. PHOTO: Hedda Mittner

This vision is explored by the artists from a deeply personal perspective, using a variety of mediums and techniques. As gallerist and curator Heidi Erdmann said at the opening, “Each of these seven individuals comments on a variety of issues and inconvenient truths that convey the state of our planet and the destructive behaviour of humans.”

She went on to say that through their collaboration, the artists, who all live in different parts of the Overstrand, are no longer alone in the wilderness of the art world and are able to push boundaries and flourish as individuals, each with her own unique perception and expression. “In a collective there is no hierarchy and each one is part of a whole. We live in a fragile world but together we can make it a better place.”

The seven local artists of the Overstrand Artist Collective: Kali van der Merwe, Yoko Reijn, Val Myburgh, Leli Hoch, Lyn Mossop, Andree Bonthuys and Marian Binder. PHOTO: Hedda Mittner

Photographer and taxidermist Kali van der Merwe hails from rural Baardskeerdersbos, and she uses road kill as inspiration for her sculptures, images and animation. Her work navigates a balance between the minuscule and cosmic, reality and theatricality, finding nuanced interconnections between death and life. She sees herself as a visual advocate on behalf of fragile ecosystems and endangered species.

Sculptor Andrée Bonthuys, who lives in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, is concerned with the fragile balances in nature, which are so easily upset by mankind’s greed and thoughtlessness. Employing symbolism and mythology, she creates with organic remains gathered on her daily walks on the mountains and shores of Hermanus.

FynArts Festival Director Mary Faure with Heidi Erdmann, who opened the exhibition, and Mandie van der Spuy. PHOTO: Hedda Mittner

The work of Stanford photographer, Lyn Mossop, embraces the beauty and fragility of our natural environment, the destructive and senseless aspects of our own nature, and the regeneration, growth and hope that exists in conjunction with the chaos of our present world. Her photographs portray the insignificance of humans and their possessions in the greater scheme of things.

Abstract painter, Yoko Reijn from Kleinbaai, uses bold colours to express emotions, memories and sensations, and to communicate in a direct, non-intellectual manner. The organic and fluid shapes in her work refer to the oneness of all aspects of life.

Chantel Louskitt, the administrative coordinator of FynArts, surrounded by works by Kali van der Merwe. PHOTO: Kali van der Merwe

Stanford illustrator, Val Myburgh, uses humour to portray the ridiculous, insatiable greed of humans as we turn a blind eye to everything but our own comfort and pleasure. Her work creates awareness of our shortcomings as we overpopulate and wantonly destroy our natural environment.

Marian Binder, also based in Stanford, uses watercolour as a medium to illustrate nature caught in the crossfire of man’s burning desire for development. Observing and sharing the wonder of subjects in the natural world, she focuses on the miraculous minutiae of growing things.

Well-known ceramic artist, Cathy Brennon, next to one of Leli Hoch’s artworks. PHOTO: Kali van der Merwe

Nature artist Leli Hoch, another Stanford resident, utilises leaves crocheted or sewn with man-processed products such as raw flax and copper wire to express her concerns about man’s ongoing manipulation of our environment. Most of her work is made in situ and after completion and documentation is left to disintegrate or decompose. Highlighting the delicate balance of fragility and strength in nature, her work speaks about impermanence and transience, and becomes a tribute to the ephemeral quality of nature.

The Overstrand Artist Collective will offer a walkabout during the next Hermanus First Fridays Artwalk on 7 February, for those who would like to gain more insight into this interesting and thought-provoking exhibition. The FynArts Gallery can be found in The Courtyard (behind The Wine Glass) at 2 Harbour Road. The exhibition runs until 22 February.

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