Part of the appeal of a 'romantic' turn in contemporary art has to do with a renewal in painting and an interest in representing subject-matter that escapes reason or logic. It's part of a push-back against conceptualism, where the idea, the logic was clear or drove the end product. Romanticism has Tallowed artists to embrace their medium, lose themselves in the process of making art, without having to ‘explain’ it and to work more intuitively than before.
As such staging an #artcrawl meant the artists had to in some way explain their work, which was to some extent a contradictory gesture. Nevertheless, there are ways of being in dialogue with artists without them having to decode their works.
The New Romantics artcrawl began with a studio visit with Ruby Swinney at her Paarden Eiland studio, where she generously allowed us to look at her massive panelled work Red Garden before it premiered at the Investec Cape Town art fair. From there we travelled to the Newlands Forest as it felt right for a crawl centred on teasing out nature's influence on artists in a beautiful setting. There Alexia Vogel and Sarah Biggs were in conversation with Mary Corrigall and were quick to point out that they rarely spend time in nature itself. Biggs works out of a small studio in an industrial setting and Vogel's natural landscapes are drawn from her imagination.
Arriving at the Barnard gallery where the New Romantics exhibition is staged we perused works by other artists Corrigall has identified as working in this mode, which include Heidi Fourie, Robyn Penn, Marcus Neustetter and Ronel de Jager. Rosie Mudge joined us for this leg and spoke to her glowing and glittery painting, The Vision, which evokes a giddy ascent into the sublime via an ‘80s retro vibe, recalling the era of ‘new romantic’ pop. She took years to develop the glitter painting method and it was partly motivated by her rejection of her 'artist's' hand.