top of page

Painting & Photography

In my first themed #artcrawl I will be taking a look at Jeanne Gaigher's art looking at it from the context of how it deals with the ordinary and the idea of the photograph as a found object. Find out more about these intimate tours here. In this review published in The Cape Times, I explore how her art is centred on consuming images, slowing the pace, for herself, for us.

Jeanne Gaigher’s painterly universe in Weig at Smith Gallery, feels kind of seventies. Tones of orange, green, brown and purple dominate and have done so since her first exhibition, Club, held at this gallery last year. This offbeat, you could even say jarring, palette is what makes her art so distinctive. It also re-asserts her source: photographs, which so often are defined by a colour palette that roots them in time. Not that you can detect her source, she paints over her photographs, covering them almost entirely with blocks of her seventies colour palette.

As such she obscures the image while enhancing it. In this way she distorts reality, turning it into something abstract or surreal, which is just as well because the photographs tend to depict banal scenes that would escape notice. The image on which Man Next to Car is based may have presented a car in a parking lot. At the edge of the work you can make out the steps to the entrance of a building. However, Gaigher has ‘treated’ the image in such a way that a car appears stranded in what could be snow, water – a kind of abstract swathe of light green concealing the actual context. We will never know what the image contained and this is not important for Gaigher is interested in revealing to herself and by proxy, us the viewer, what it doesn’t include.

In other words Gaigher’s method allows her to tease out a sort of invisible reality that photographs can’t relay. In the Man Next to Car it may be the sense of isolation that is experienced in this mundane urban scene. Maybe it is an expression of impending doom. Perhaps it is even a sense of tranquility she wishes to highlight.

Gaigher might be unaware of what she aims to