Richard Mason’s ‘’Nyamezela’’ at 99 Loop Gallery

Richard Mason ”Kids”. Circa 2019. Courtesy of 99 Loop Gallery

Visual artist Richard Mason had an exhibition at the 99 Loop Gallery, showing works that can be characterised as experimental, bearing in mind the usually cool, and sophisticated styles that his work is finished with. In one exhibition the pieces were influenced by digital visual motifs and forms, and interacted with pop-culture from Japanese animation. Another exhibition was comprised of works executed with squashed bottle tops on circular surfaces, finished with an ombre effect in terms of how its colours interacted.

‘’Nyamezela’’ is an exhibition characterised with works with a crude effect, exhibited with unframed canvases, minimalist works rendered with the impact of child art. The artist having participated in a road awareness campaign in the Eastern Cape. The strategy makes the work memorable and impactfull, it also gives the background about the road awareness campaign as sense of continuation. The implication about young people and the child art effect, becomes imbued with a measure of aesthetic that becomes imbued with a sensual discourse in the exhibition. This is reflected in the piece titled ‘’Car-Wash’’, rendered in the convenience of street graffiti, an image of an abstract man mounting an abstract woman. The implication around the issue of water and its current discourse of usage in South Africa, becomes a means to display how caution and modesty are about choices than the necessity of waste.
Another piece that is imbued with sensual implications, is the piece titled ‘’DIVIDED’’. This piece also rendered in graffiti style is characterised by an image of a heart with an arrow with sharp points at both ends going through it. With the piece executed with acrylic, it assumes the discourse relating to sensuality, in a measure that is ambiguous about the reciprocity that is implied romantic issues. Created in the context of a road awareness campaign, it also assumes sentimental connotations, about the campaign and the nature of the artist’s participation.
Sentiment is also evident in the piece titled ‘’KIDS’’, displayed in the frameless strategy, a boy and girl sit on a rainbow with the callow connotations of humpty-dumpty. The nature of the sentiments becomes palpable and ideal. Notions of memory becomes paramount, and the value of personal impact becomes eminent. The crude and frameless exhibition strategy can be discerned for the measure in it that is about expressing what is immediate in terms of personal impact. The sentiments that the image of the rainbow implies, also implies the tenuous connections that campaigns of this nature are characterise by.
The piece titled ‘’Jonga’’ which is Xhosa word, when translated to English means ‘to look’, is a piece dominated with an image of a fox’s head on a white background. The playful implications about being aware are resounding in the work in a measure that is abstract. This not only is pronounced in the context of the exhibition, it also imbues the logic of awareness with a measure of implied responsibility. The piece has personal implications, these implications are about self aware, in the necessary selflessness that is necessary on the perilous roads.
The piece titled ‘’King’’ is another piece with a measure of sentiment, in the context of the exhibition it is imbued the impact of crude sentimentality. The dry finish the piece is characterised by continues the callow essence that permeates the exhibition with an entoptic crown or seminal piece. The exhibition might or not be inspired by a road awareness campaign, if it is then what is sentimental assumes a measure of value in the people the artist connected with. If it is not then the entoptic necessity and the frameless strategy the works are finished with are testament to an artist who can translate the visual sociology of the urban setting with both the callow implications that imply their sense of disintegration and personal connotations. It also implies an artist that is able to translate this with the abstract connotations of a visual narrative necessary for upscale artist.


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