In perpetuum in the Bay

Artworks from Beth Diane Armstrong’s in perpetuum show at the National Arts Festival

The sculptural work of the winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist (SBYA) 2017 award Beth Diane Armstrong is now on show at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum.

In the exhibition, which opened last night, Rhodes University graduate Armstrong plays with space and this exhibition highlights her use of sculpture to explore different expressions of scale, structure, materiality and space through stainless steel, video and light.

in perpetuum consists of massive steel sculptures, as well as smaller-scale metal sculptures and drawings. In this exhibition, Armstrong plays with the monumental and the intimate.

In an interview at the 2017 NAF, the artist gave her perspective on the creative process, explaining the physical work that goes into making her pieces. For example, in the larger works, one beam might need several men to lift it.

Time is another factor and Armstrong said although she might weld a piece in the relatively short space of 10 days, it took far longer to conceptualise and design.

“Behind every work you see is weeks, months and sometimes years of calculating.”

Armstrong completed her MA in sculpture under Maureen de Jager at Rhodes in 2010.

“It’s about feelings, my sculptures invite you to relate and it is all about personal space. I invite you to come into my show. Here is my process, it’s very tied into me as an individual and an artist, being in the world, in perpetuum.”

Like a photographer, she is consciously playing with light. In this case it is not to capture an image on film – although in perpetuum does include a video with an interplay of light and colour – but to cast shadows and angles in relief through a combination of solid shapes and empty space.

Even the shadows the works cast on the gallery walls are carefully planned to be subtle yet cohesive.

in perpetuum is on show at the museum until March 26.

NMMAM hours are 9am to 5pm on weekdays, except Tuesday mornings and public holidays.

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