Extraordinary art at Oliewenhuis

Margaret Nel, whose latest paintings will be showcased at Oliewenhuis Art Museum from 19 April to 27 May 2018.

Margaret Nel, a well-known South-African artist, will be showcasing her latest work, entitled Best Before, where she explores complexities of female identity, age and abuse of power in a challenging exhibition at Oliewenhuis Art Museum, Bloemfontein from 19 April to 27 May. A travelling Quilt Exhibition presented by the South African Quilters Guild from 6 to 22 April will also leave visitors in awe.

A beautiful quilt of sky-divers by the the South African Quilters Guild as part of their Travelling Quilt Exhibition, entitled Inspiration.

Nel was born in Johannesburg in 1945 and has been a practising artist since 1970. She completed 27 paintings between 2009 and 2018. The Best Before series challenges the viewer with three investigations of the same theme: cuts of meat, baked goods and fresh produce – all displayed on an oversized scale. While these artworks of packaged consumer goods may certainly be interpreted as contemporary still life, their scale and openness encourage the viewer to assess the works on a number of extra levels.
In the process of exploring baked goods as a metaphor for female sexual objectification, degradation and assault, Nel also began investigating how this theme might relate to the ageing female in particular. By documenting confectionery before and after the effects of decay set in, Nel not only touches on the modern concern with artificially extending and enhancing female sexual attraction, but also the predictable process of ageing and ultimate rejection of the aged female from society. “Best Before I and II are the results of my investigations. Here, the baked goods are encased in a plastic wrap, which serves only as a temporary shield against eventual decomposition. So too the body continues with the process of decay and death,” Nel explains.

An acrylic on canvas painting from Margaret Nel’s Best Before collection.

The exhibition will be opened by Dr Nadine Lake, Programme Director and Lecturer in the Gender Studies Programme at the University of the Free State, at 19:00. A walkabout will be conducted by the artist at 10:00 on Friday, 20 April 2018.
The South African Quilters Guild is also very proud to present a Travelling Quilt Exhibition, entitled Inspiration, showcasing a collection of quilt art that will leave viewers inspired. The exhibition will also showcase the finished quilts from The Pan-African Friendship Quilt Challenge, which invited quilters from different African countries to be ‘twinned’ with each other. Each set of quilters have produced two quilts – each quilter working on her own quilt and then swopping with the other, thus adding to the design and increasing the size. These beautiful quilts are rich in the use of colour, fibre and threads, diverse in design, stitched with limitless creativity and blended together with broad imagination.
The South African Quilters’ Guild was founded in 1989 at the 3rd National Quilt Festival held in Bloemfontein and has been the co-ordinating body of quilting in South Africa since then. The SAQG is the national guild of South Africa, a non-profit association with 11 regional guilds represented as well as other affiliated quilting groups.
More information is available at http://www.margaretnel.com/ and http://www.nasmus.co.za/museum/satellite-museums/oliewenhuis-art-museum.

Zilke Prinsloo