JESSICA WEBSTER – I KNEW YOU IN THIS DARK
30 JULY – 29 AUGUST 2009
The show was opened by Professor Penny Siopis
David Krut Projects is pleased to present young Johannesburg artist Jessica Webster on the occasion of her MAFA graduation exhibition. Four years of rigorous academic study and studio practice culminate in a show of paintings and drawings so personal it is difficult to imagine external influence of any nature. Fundamentally autobiographical, her images spring neither from dreams nor from an ‘automatic’ process, but from a real experience of violence. Webster’s experience of trauma is the basic rift from where her creative energy surges. And as a result, hers is a ‘primal’ art in the sense that inspiration springs directly from emotions triggered by her past. At the same time, her drawings and paintings seem to defy any singular aesthetic classification, shifting from figural representation to works that at times appear entirely abstract. Perhaps because when Webster feels the need to express something, she does so in a way that seems most appropriate, independently of form and material. This might explain the work’s freshness, seductiveness, and resistance to traditional classification.
I have titled this exhibition, “I knew you in this dark”, to convey the opaque territories of self-in-practice explored in the realisation of these paintings. In many ways, I feel that the painting process is analogous to life – life as fraught by endless negotiations of insecure passages between feeling and thought, fantasies and realities, and the clutter of relationships these dialogues ensue. In painting, as in life, one navigates through, in and around the agencies of intuition, the knowledge of past experience and the conditions of culture. The journey is punctuated with flashes of happiness, of the absurd and of trauma; revelations beyond our control compelling prevaricating perspectives – to be overwhelmed, or to draw a line in the shifting sands of being…