Mary Wafer has collaborated with David Krut Workshop (DKW) since 2005 on monotypes and etchings, which convey psychologically isolated spaces to explore modes of structural exclusion in South Africa – past and present. Wafer’s minimalist approach to referencing peripheral structures, such as freeways and bridges, characterise her language of visual critique. For Wafer, “the slightest suggestion of an extended space can be enough information to grasp the image and its underlying social commentary.”
Reflex Blue is part of a series of etchings in which Wafer unpacks a culture of intimidation in the apartheid Police Service. According to the artist, the deteriorating façade of John Vorster Square, which is now the Johannesburg Central Police Station, signifies the collective trauma embedded in many of our urban spaces: “The menacing presence of the police station is a monument to systemic violence. It is an evocative image because it embodies a shared anxiety that is a consequence of the brutality of daily life in South Africa” – Wafer.