Beth Diane Armstrong in perpetuum at Iziko


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SBYA - N. Soeker (26 October 2017)
SBYA – N. Soeker (26 October 2017)

Iziko Museums of South Africa is hosting the Cape Town showing of the annual Standard Bank Young Artist 2017 – Visual Art exhibition.

For more than three decades, Iziko and Standard Bank have been in partnership to recognise and laud and exhibit works by young emerging artists. Beth Diane Armstrong is the winner of the coveted title this year. in perpetuum – a largely sculptural exhibition centred on opened at the Iziko South African National Gallery on 26 October 2017.

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Beth Diane Armstrong

Beth ArmstrongCurrently living and working in Johannesburg, Beth Diane was born in South African in 1985. In 2010, she completed, with distinction, her Masters of Fine Art at Rhodes University. Rhodes University bought her BFA exhibition, Hibernation, for their permanent collection. Armstrong has had several solo exhibitions, and has partaken in a number of group shows and projects locally and internationally, as well as being included in various private and public collections. Some recent highlighted commissions include the completion of a large permanent public artwork Flag in Oostvoorne, in the Netherlands, commissioned by the Kern Kunst Westvoorne Foundation, and her most recent Page for National English Literary Museum, a 10-ton outdoor sculpture, in Grahamstown, South Africa. Armstrong was awarded the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award 2017 – Visual Arts in South Africa for 2017.

The title in perpetuum suggests something which is ongoing and everlasting. The exhibition consists of drawings and sculptures of varying sizes and a projected video, and is centred on contrasting variations of density and looseness. The exhibition highlights Armstrong’s use of sculpture to explore different expressions of these two terms in relation to scale, structure, materiality, space, representation and process.

“As the custodians of our cultural and artistic heritage, foregrounding, the vital role of artistic production, creativity and innovation in an ever-changing world, is part of Iziko’s core business. Museums provide a social compass and pivotal platforms not only for reflection and insight, but also for innovation – playing a definitive role locally, and on the global stage. Today more than ever, museums are at the heart of cultural, social and economic issues in contemporary societies,” said Rooksana Omar, CEO of Iziko Museums.

As one of the leading contemporary South African sculptors of her generation, in perpetuum captures Beth Diane Armstrong’s mastery of the medium. in perpetuum accentuates her meticulous processes, and her astounding ability to effortlessly switch between intricate smaller works and imposing large-scale masses of steel.

Visually, the works take their cue from the relational play with scale and sheer surfaces of Richard Serra, the examination of structures in Sol LeWitt’s work, and the fastidious attention to process of Ruth Asawa. Thematically, Armstrong synthesises a number of influences for whom cycles of flux have been an overarching concern. These include the paradoxical etchings of M.C. Escher, the rhizomatic philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari, and Douglas Hofstadter’s opus, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid.

Iziko Museums of South African has been one of the hosting partners since the inception of the Young Artist of the Year award. in perpetuum will be on display at the Iziko South African National Gallery until January 2018. The exhibition began its year-long tour at the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown in June 2016, and will travel to various major centres around South Africa before ending its run in mid-2018. A holiday season must see!


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