2020, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
Since the beginning of man’s existence, observation has played a crucial role in our survival. It was by observation that humans were able to track the path of the sun to determine the change of seasons thus forming the basis of agriculture.
We not only observed weather patterns though, we also observed the creatures we shared our habitats with. Through observing the creatures around us we attributed certain human like characteristics to them other times lending them “god-like” status. They became part of our folklore and mythology.
The crow is widespread and found on most continents, in some cultures they are viewed as sinister characters, a bad omen. For the most part though the mythology of the crow has them as messengers to the gods.
In modern times and through observational research the crow has been found to be highly intelligent, capable of solving complex problems and puzzles. The most fascinating discovery has been that crows are able to recognise individual humans. So while we have been observing nature and deciding which creatures are good omens and which are bad omens…remember they are observing us too. The crow is able to communicate to other crows if a person he has observed in the past is “good” or “bad”. The question is what are creatures’ perceptions of us? Are we good omens or bad?
In this collection of works, Louis uses Liquid Ivory Black watercolour, which changes colour when it comes into contact with water. Starting as black to denote the sinister qualities we have unfairly given to the crow. With minimal contact with water, the ink turns blue which represents the magical qualities of the crow. While the yellow represents the god like state of enlightenment. These colours may represent what our mythology and beliefs tell us about the crow, but it could just as easily represent the perceptions that the crow may have of us.
A portion of the works depict the crow in line with the traditional idea of observation, beautiful details are visible, the focus on aesthetics. In other works, the focus moves away from detailed observation and changes to observing movement and the fluidity of the crows’ movement as well as the fluidity of the medium.
Louis also purposefully ignores the traditional artistic “rules” of composition. In these works, he is observing nature and nature seldom stops to pose for the perfect composition. This gives the viewer a sense of being part of the observation process, only able to catch a fleeting glimpse as nature passes by.
Call: +27 83 675 0150
10th - 26th September 2020 – LIQUID BLACK at the Association of Arts Pretoria opening, 10am.