Artist casts spotlight on Bay architecture

Lee Meyer

LINOCUT artist Alan Basil Grobler unveiled his unique tribute to local Nelson Mandela Bay architecture at the Ron Belling Art Gallery this week.

This will be Grobler’s fourth solo exhibition, nearly 30 years after he first put knife to canvas.

Made popular by Pablo Picasso, the linocut technique involves cutting intricate designs into sheets of linoleum which are then inked and stamped onto paper by hand.

The sharp, defined edges of the resulting image are particularly suited to line-heavy objects like buildings. “I want to reflect the wealth of architectural examples in Port Elizabeth’s Old Hill area,” Grobler said.

“The urban landscape is constantly changing.”

The area is well-known for its prominent landmarks.

The Opera House and City Hall date back to the 19th century, and the Port Elizabeth Library still stands as a fine example of Victorian Gothic revival architecture.

But don’t expect to see too many of these in Grobler’s portfolio – finding beauty in unlikely spaces is his speciality.

“I’m more fond of structures that people tend to overlook.

“The heritage here is extraordinarily rich and diverse, I want people to be aware of this,” he said.

Grobler’s basis for comparison is extensive – he’s taken his art as far as Canada and Sweden, where some of it remains to this day.

More than 60 of his artworks will be on display at the Ron Belling Art Gallery, including a handful of prints inspired by another unlikely source of aesthetic appeal – the freeways over the North End, Govan Mbeki Avenue area.

“There’s something about them that transcends their everyday, functional use.

“I tried to capture that giant appearance, and those flowing geometric lines.

“They’re like the pyramids of Egypt, manmade examples of land art.”

These and other prints will be for sale at the gallery, complete with a personal touch.

“I limit my work to small editions – each piece is numbered, titled and signed.

“That’s the beauty of doing linocut by hand, no two prints are the same.”

The exhibition will run from now until February 22, and viewing hours are 10am to 4pm every weekday, and 10am to 1pm on Saturdays.

Call Robyn at the Ron Belling Gallery for more information: (041) 586-3973.

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