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“You’ll bare your bones you’ll grow you’ll pray you’ll only know When the light appears, boy, when the light appears”– extract from When The Light Appears by Allen Ginsberg

‘This is coming of age? Facing that we’re not like the dreams we have of ourselves? Unsure of our choices in life? Unable to ever be perfect? Even our heroes are lost and our ideas of adulthood are a fraudulent myth we’ve unconsciously inherited. Why not just stay in a world of infantile fantasy? Maybe forever even?’ – Mike Mills

BARE YOUR BONES is an introspective collection of work exploring disenchantment during the transition from whimsical youth to responsible adult. Whereas some accept this transition, many resist it for a period or indefinitely, but the merciless nature of time isn’t kind to such individuals and is usually the motivation behind eventual submission. How does one ‘grow-up’ without losing the magic of a youthful spirit? The exhibition alludes specifically to the experience of the artist herself, and to that of misfits and bohemians. Works include reverse-glass paintings and a combination of reverse-glass with ink drawings on wood.

Thoughts pertaining to the theme: ‘Are you ready to bare your bones? To accept that you’re mortal and that life is to be lived in a way that a sensible mortal would? To construct life as a series of practical building blocks that ultimately guarantee a cosy coffin and offspring to carry your name? Magic has not much to do with this arrangement, there simply isn’t time to spare for it.’

Partial to the theme is the idea that life is often seen as invincible, free and filled with ‘magic’ until an awareness of death starts plaguing the mind – it looms like a raven waiting on one’s shoulder. It translates as an underlying fear and consequently dreams and aspirations dilute to basic survival. At that moment the child inside disappears and is replaced by a serious demeanor. On the contrary, it is possible to resist submission to such a dark reality as Dylan Thomas urges his father to do in his poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. To burn and rage despite the complications of a deteriorating body and a burdened mind.

Another aspect of the exhibition is on is the sudden melancholy surrounding the realization and the burden of having to make that important decision. The flood of emotion, confusion and sometimes optimism involved is the basis of what is being communicated – and the purpose is to relate to multiple persons something that is usually experienced in desolation. It requires certain wisdom to accept the responsibility to oneself that while you are now officially in charge of your destiny, it is necessary to remember that happiness in the present tense is the ultimate pursuit (which is not much different to the attitude of the carefree youth). Illustrated are predominantly portraits engulfed in shadow, nostalgia, intricate patterns, symbolic imagery and the use of a monochrome palette. The technique used for the ink drawings permeate tension and the lack of contrast refer to the effort involved in constructing an image within the mind’s eye – as so often is the case with memories. The patterns used on the glass refer to energy, the essence of existence and its nature to vibrate, move and change in a way that has both order and chaos – a moment of experiencing life as energy is empowering as there is a realization of fluidity and motion rather than feeling inert. The patterns have a tribal quality as well that evoke a sense of mysticism. The use of wood reflects the reference to bone, as a raw natural element and symbol of mortality, whereas the glass covering it refers to the smooth veneer of spirit covering soma.

Mariette was born in 1982, and has so far spent most of her time in Johannesburg, South Africa. She attended The National School of the Arts where she specialized in painting and sculpture, and then studied at Vega, the Brand Communication School. After six years in magazines as a graphic designer and art director, she decided to pursue art full-time.

To date the artist has had 2 solo exhibitions, has shown her work in among other places The Hout Bay Gallery and with the Creative Block Project in Cape Town and Johannesburg. She is also featured on the art blog Handsome Things.com

For more information visit Mariette Bergh

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