Three NMMU Masters students are currently hosting a group exhibition showcasing their artworks at the NMMU Art Gallery in Bird Street. Works from Jonathan van der Walt, René Pirie and Mellaney Ruiters are currently on show.
The exhibition officially opened to invited guests on Friday the 24th of February 2017 at the NMMU Bird Street Art Gallery in Central, Port Elizabeth. It is currently on show at the gallery until Friday the 24th of March 2017, gallery viewing times – weekdays: 09h30 – 15h00.
Ceramics student Mellaney Ruiters attempted and succeeded in developing a translucent low fired porcelain casting slip using South African raw materials, due to the ever-increasing electricity tariffs in South Africa as well as the physical deterioration put on the elements and brickwork in electric kilns when fired to traditional porcelain temperatures. Traditional porcelain bodies that can be purchased from South African suppliers are required to be fired to between 1200°C and 1300°C, whereas Mellaney’s formula vitrified at 1190°C.
Jonathan van der Walt, sculpture student, explored the relationship between the artist and the craftsman within Contemporary art. An exploration into the artistic production processes of selected successful contemporary artists’ work revealed a tendency of physical non-involvement on the part of the artist, who takes up the role of art director. He posed the question as to whether credit should be given as much to the craftsman who makes the artwork as that which is given to the artist who had the idea. In addition, van der Walt emphasised collaboration in his own practice, working with eNtsa in highlighting the benefits of 3D technologies in assisting the contemporary sculptor, and with Sculpture Casting Services fine art foundry in developing a professional and commercial relationship for art production.
Printmaking student René Pirie highlighted the sexual objectification of women in contemporary lifestyle and fashion magazines. Models used for advertising purposes often set a standard of beauty and youth that is unrealistic and limiting. This standard has damaging effects on women’s sense of self and their societal behaviour. Such images not only sexualise women’s bodies but also encourage self-surveillance. The purpose of her series of artworks, which she refers to as the Pseudo fashion models or Anti-fetish dolls, is to oppose the fetishization of women in magazines, particularly in advertisements of high-end consumer products.