The mirror is commonly recognized symbol for interior looking and reflection. In art, the mirror serves as a moment for the artist to speak of transitory moments where the viewer and the artist may both become self aware through the act of looking. By placing a mirror within a painting, or by creating elements that suggest mirroring, the artist offers the viewer a chance to engage in a derivative action of looking as the forms of representation are offered within a particular symbolic dialogue.
The title of Eclectica Design & Art’s latest exhibition speaks of reflections and refraction of imagery leading to forms of mirroring. Inevitably, the pairing of portraiture within the topic of mirror symbolisms connects to the association and commonality of portraits of women with, reflected in and holding mirrors. The idea of the physical form being represented through a reflection speaks to a particularly demeaning and tenuous practice in art history. The body exposed for the viewers pleasure and further doubled in reflection as a moment of self-awareness speaks to the vanity of the artist through the model, as well as the viewer’s voyeuristic intent in sharing the act of looking
As can be shown by the artists featured in the gallery’s latest exhibition, the theme of mirroring and reflection moves away from the purely representational and toward a more textured and multifaceted approach. The likes of Anthea Del Motte’s Urban Shower works, using water deflecting off intertwined bodies as a means of expression and emotive identification, Albert Coetse’s refracted landscapes and Boeta Phyf’s edgy collage-like & character pieces that mirror popular local phrases, all come together to show their latest offerings – challenging the norms and historical trends of mirror-themed art.
The latest exhibition at the gallery, thus seeks to critically unpack the recurrence of portraiture and the symbolism of mirroring in the gallery space. The works seek to explore the means with which the artist is able to convey emotions, identities and representations through the of the contemporary South African art world.