Spit of Love Reviews:

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Artthrob, Issue No, 31, March 2000


Tempelhoff, Podeswa and Zantsi at the AVA
by Sue Williamson

Elegant indeed are the small wall pieces by Lene Tempelhoff, up now at the AVA, immaculately fabricated from steel, red clay, bronze. and plastic. In matt, earthlike finishes of a rich brown, each seems to present the handsome fa�ade of sparsely decorated buildings of North African influence, with little possibility of ground level entry - though high windows and upper balconies provide lookout points, and small planes seem to have landed on many. 'Excursions and choicelessness' is the title of the exhibition. 'Excursions' seems clear enough - these are small journeys into the poetic. Choicelessness? Tempelhoff cites her influences as 'yoga, Eastern philosolphies, dancers, aeroplanes, stage sets, jetties', and also fires and palm trees, a fine range of choices. Some of the pieces have engraved script, and those pieces seem limited by the incised words. There are also a series of small table-top tableaux in painted jelutong, which, while attractive, do not engage the attention as the intriguing Flights of Consciousness series on the wall.

In the Main Gallery, Canadian Howard Podeswa shows work with a refreshing lightness of touch. Podeswa paid two visits to South Africa, in 1998 and 1999, spending time out at Zweletemba township near Paarl, hanging out, becoming part of a Community Peace programme, listening to the things people say and noting their responses with his eyes. One gets the impression Podeswa fitted in rather easily. The work on show is entitled 'Spit of Love', and includes paintings and sketches, some pinned simply to the wall which are amalgams of his experiences here and of working in community projects in his hometown of Toronto. "I KNOW what you're UP to - I can see it in your eyes" is the record of a brief encounter with the trickster Timbele, clad in a green pointed hat. Behind this work, a sound installation by Jeremy de Tolly brings something of the street into the gallery. Other work by Podeswa, sometimes in comic strip format, presents moments of debate in community argument. With his fresh, brushy style, Podeswa gives a bright and quirky view of the townships as seen by an uitlander.

Upstairs, on the ArtStrip, Timothy Zantsi presents his insider's view of township life, working in paint and pastel to present a series of moments from daily life. This is Zantsi's first solo exhibition, sponsored by the Outreach programme of the AVA. The work gives off a high degree of energy, but the paint surfaces of ten seem somewhat overworked, and Zantsi will have to watch that his work does not descend to the level of caricature. My own favourite was a piece which seem to have been added as an afterthought, pinned up just outside the entrance. Entitled 'Women Refugees', three women seated on a bench are described with free flowing brush strokes which almost suggest leaves blowing in the wind - an appropriate style for the subject.

All shows close on March 25.

AVA, 35 Church Street
Tel: (021) 424-7436
Fax: (021) 423-2637
E-mail: avaart@iafrica.com
Website:http://www.ava.co.za
Gallery hours: Mon - Fri, 10am - 5pm, Sat 10am - 12pm