Pretoria artists Sanna Swart (sculptor) and Lynette ten Krooden (painter) combined their different ways of looking at and interpreting the environment, the cosmos and the universe for an exhibiton titled A Delicate Balance at the Association of Arts Pretoria running until November 1.
DIANE DE BEER spoke to both artists about this collaboration:
A collaboration between sculptor Sanna Swart and painter Lynette ten Krooden was inevitable.
They live and work in close proximity, deal in and explore the same issues yet work in different media. If you are superstitious or believe in synchronicity, you might think that this collaboration began because the Association if Arts Pretoria celebrates a 70th birthday while Ten Krooden has practised her art for 40 years and Swart has been sculpting for 30! Together their years of making art is on par with that of the Association.
But there’s more to their working together than that even though it is a fun fact to chew on.
Swart wanted to exhibit and with the two artists living and working like neighbours, their minds attuned, she invited an artist she has always looked up to, to collaborate.
“I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do it 10 years ago,” she admits, but these two artists are both in a place with their work which made this such a clever coming together.
They also knew they wanted to exhibit at the Association because of the gallery space. “It’s a space that was constructed specially to show art,” says Swart and there aren’t too many of those around.
When you walk into this exhibition which counter-balances the paintings of the one with the sculptures of the other, it makes complete sense. There’s a synergy that showcases the delicate balance and allows the work to breathe. There’s both a simplicity and a solemnity in the space which benefits the art.
As artists they are also both aware of the beauty of “the place we call home” and of the fragility and delicate balance between human beings and nature. And that is where their art is focused.
Swart has reclaimed forged stainless steel which she used to work with in her earlier days while Ten Krooden has for many years experimented with gold and silver leaf in her oil based paintings. She also experimented with natural oxidation on mild steel, which brought an even stronger symbiosis between the paintings and sculptures into play. The way the work has been displayed, the subjects each artist has selected, perfectly complement each other.
And it wasn’t as if they worked together in that sense. With an interest in the environment and the way each of us leave a mark whether we choose to or not, they talked about their intent with this exhibition and then worked on their different pieces.
“I was amazed how some of my work reflected some of the things Lynette was working on,” explains Swart as she talks about the way they think about the planet, the environment and how it affects each one of us.
For her specifically returning to stainless steel has been a freeing experience because of the process. “I was working with flat pieces of metal which I could shape and manipulate any way I wanted,” she says.
Ten Krooden on the other hand was amazed how her working process was given wings as her horisons expanded by this collaboration.
It is a confidence in their combined work that permeates this exhibition. And even though, each piece stands on its own, it is as if working together on an exhibition allowed them to breathe slightly more easily which reflects in the work.
Some of Ten Krooden’s work encouraged Swart to give a three-dimensional vision to an idea that she picked up in a particular painting, she notes and between them, there was an energy that was greater than its individual force.
They both view themselves as “outsider” artists, not quite part of the establishment, but this coming together obviously had an effect on their work which is perhaps not what they expected to happen. It’s quite explosive.
They describe themselves as contemporary artists, working with the world as we view it today and hopefully making an impact.