Rust-en-Vrede Gallery

Current Exhibitions: Art Social:Quality Time, Annelie Janse van Rensburg, Barry van der Westhuizen, Garth Meyer and Ian Glenny (1952-2023)

The Modern Condition

Jody Olën

14 June until 13 July 2016

I wish to challenge the assumptions about the nature of reality. To illustrate a dream like irrationality, where positive becomes negative and different realities collide.

I wish to seed an enduring enquiry into such dichotomies as productivity vs presence, belief vs faith, hurrying vs delaying, and money vs wealth.

At the heart of these polarised tussles is always the question of what is real- what makes us real, in our personhood, to ourselves and others, and what makes the world real to us.

We are creatures of infinite contradiction and sanity- saving self-delusion.

Thomas Hardy wrote “Our desire for increasing acquisition has brought poverty of the spirit, of time, of family values.”

I have a wicked obsession with children’s book illustration, the likes of Arthur Rackham. I am deeply affected by environmental issues, and inspired by poetry and music.

The series titled “the modern condition” is an introspective journey and my antidote to the age of anxiety.

As an artist, you get the opportunity to write the world- or create the world that exists in your fantasies. It’s a very beautiful thing to do.

But beautiful as the overall sense of purpose might be, the fantasy world of this inward gaze often requires being intensely present with ones darker side.

I have a genuine yearning for “spiritual enlightenment” or refinement of soul, or whatever we may call that sincere longing for better communion with the universe.

“Tin Trees” for example, deals with the fact that cell phone towers, disguised as trees, signal interferes with the navigational systems of bees. Affecting their ability to return to the hive thus, the bee population is suffering as a result.

I hope that, if only for an instant, the images will make the viewer question, this strange disease of modern life.

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