Rust-en-Vrede Gallery, Durbanville
26 July 2023 until 25 August 2023


“Decay” is an exhibition exploring the relationship between humankind and the environment. Through their work, artists Matthew Blackburn and Claudia Gurwitz strive to return to the physical and spiritual harmony with Mother Nature.

Nature’s ability to regenerate resonates with Blackburn. All plant and animal matter eventually decay, creating a nutrient-rich environment that supplements a new generation of plant life. Thus continuing the circle of life. His work highlights how through pollution, humanity is upsetting nature’s balance.

Through her painting, Gurwitz has always experienced the intrinsic unity that pervades nature. This gives her a sense that we live in a beautiful and orderly world. Her most recent body of work was born during the COVID-19 pandemic and explores ‘interrupted’ plant imagery. While we feel a disconnect, our environment in turn, feels out of sync.

Blackburn’s work focuses on our inefficient waste management and disposal. His work draws attention to how plastics and other pollutants are unable to decompose. These accumulate at dumpsites and landfills, eventually overflowing into the environment. Blackburn also aims to bring awareness to the ever-growing problem of pollution, and how it is often overlooked due to instant gratification and greed in our society. “If you really think the environment is less important than the economy, try holding your breath while you count your money” – Dr Guy McPherson

Matthew Blackburn, Water Bottle 2 Close Up, Acrylic on hardboard,33cm x 23cm

Gurwitz’s work aligns with humanity as organic beings in this world; that we are an integral part of our natural world. While humanity feels off-centre during this time, we are having to find new ways of navigating this altered reality, of engaging with each other and with our environment. While Gurwitz’s paintings allude to a subtly distorted perspective of natural form, she also finds surprising beauty in their distortion. These slightly uncomfortable combinations give the viewer pause. Perhaps this alternate beauty reflects nature’s resilience and power to heal. There is hope and inspiration as we reshape our new normal.

“Decay” can be viewed from 26 July 2023 until 25 August 2023.

Rust-en-Vrede Gallery and Clay Museum
068 457 8589 / /

Gallery Hours: Weekdays from 10h00 – 16h00, Saturdays from 9h00 until 13h00.

Matthew Blackburn, Overflow, Acrylic on hardboard, 123cm x 53cm, 2023


Matthew Blackburn, Dove, Acrylic on hardboard, 63cmx53cm, 2023


Matthew Blackburn, Rat, Acrylic on hardboard, 55cm x 40cm, 2023


Claudia Gurwitz, Purdah, Oil on Canvas, 33cm x 33cm


Claudia Gurwitz, Reeds, Oil on Canvas, 480mm x 530mm,


Claudia Gurwitz, Adaptation, 2022, Oil on Canvas, 1.4m x 1m


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