Video 2 Nocturnes John-Michael Metelerkamp
20 February- 10 March 2021
Deepest Darkest Gallery
by John-Michael Metelerkamp
“There is something exhilarating and liberating about Metelerkamp’s paintings. They allow us to trust ourselves, even when we are most vulnerable. The artist reminds me of George Condo’s words, ‘Don’t step back until you think you have something to look at’. Standing in front of Metelerkamp’s paintings, my eyes dart hither and thither, pulled, dragged, buoyantly tossed about, then momentarily eased … stilled. What more could one require from a painting in this uncertain time? :
– Ashraf Jamal
Excerpt from ‘Nocturnes’ Essay.
Nocturnes is the new exhibition by John-Michael Metelerkamp. Born and raised in Kynsna, South Africa, the series is a collection of paintings from 2018 – 2020 based on the artist’s life in Knysna.
“I believe that my job as an artist is to simplify the complexities of my life. Or at least my experience of it. The sense of overstimulation I feel and a propensity for chaos lingers around every corner of my psyche. That tension between chaos and order is a primary informer of the work I strive to make. Translating what I feel and see into a visual language is about focusing on something that I find interesting. And I may not be able to pin down the exactness of my curiosity; but I feel the need to challenge these thoughts and feelings and show myself what it looks like in a visual sense, with paint.
Mostly I am interested in towns and how people move through and inhabit them. The moods and rhythms of people in places is what my attention gravitates toward. To my eye the people and places I observe hold an extreme familiarity. I know this stuff all too well; but often when I walk through a town I feel a different sense of myself. It is a learning experience. But I am not interested in celebrating or idealising the moment. I would like to uncover some form of emotion in the scenes that play out. An opening of truth, a vulnerability.
On canvas the work is made through a measured experimentation. Heavy-handed moments of addition and subtraction. I work into the painting acutely aware of what I’m doing and also in a state consumed within the paint, a kind of no-mans-land. Openings in the paintings appear which give me direction. I get close to the painting. I want to be in the painting. There is no defining result, just a mood from the piece that tells me I’ve done enough.”
– John-Michael Metelerkamp