Hans Alf Gallery
Wednesday, 30 June 2021 10:44

The Summer Show

The Summer Show

02.07.2021 - 31.07.2021

 

As a tribute to all the brilliant artists that Hans Alf Gallery represents, we have put together a special summer exhibition showcasing works by each of the 18 artists currently on our roster.

 

During the month of July, Hans Alf Gallery will be open Fridays, 12-17, and Saturdays, 11-16, only.

 

 

 

Exhibition view:

 

 

 

Works in the exhibition:

 

 

Published in The Summer Show
Wednesday, 16 September 2020 11:32

Natasha Kissell: Through Hardships to the Stars

Natasha Kissell: Thorugh Hardships to the Stars

18.09.2020 - 17.10.2020

 

In a lot of ways “Through Hardships to the Stars” is the antonym to Jørgen Haugen Sørensen’s “Crowding at the Gate of Stupidity”, which is on view in the main gallery. Natasha Kissell’s works were created under the same dire circumstances as Haugen’s, and the situation in Great Britain has been just as bleak as in Italy. But where Haugen looks for meaning and insight in a direct confrontation with the harsh reality of things, Kissell seeks refuge in her family, nature, the English countryside, and the night sky.

 

"Through Hardships to the Stars" is a poetic excursion into the private dream world of the South African painter. Familiar landscapes are lined by exotic mountain ranges, flowers shoot up and burst out of the picture plane, and the perspective is distorted ever so slightly, which makes the paintings appear almost surreal. As always, Kissell incorporates iconic pieces of architecture in her works, but this time something has happened to the houses: Suddenly, a warm light beams from every window, door and crack, and even though we are meant to be standing in the middle of nature, the world open to us, you also get a feeling that within all these houses, worlds we can never access are hidden. For this reason, the artworks themselves contain a peculiar inner tension that is exemplary to Kissell’s oeuvre.

 

Another clear tendency in Natasha Kissell’s recent works is the emergence of tiny figures in the landscape. This is the artist’s own family, her children, with whom she travelled the English countryside during the Covid-19 lockdowns in an attempt to escape the postapocalyptic scenes of the big cities. In this sense, the paintings act as a double testimony of the painter’s escape from the pandemic: They are an expression of Kissell’s longing for a sorrowless ideal world, and at the same time – in a more concrete sense – they are depictions of a very real escape out into the great outdoors. The underlying message is unmistakable: The world is still out there, nature perseveres. And isn’t that quite comforting after all?

 

Wednesday, 26 September 2018 15:05

Natasha Kissell: Then Dawns the Invisible

Natasha Kissell: Then Dawns the Invisible

06.04.18 - 19.05.2018

 

By definition, the visual arts are concerned with the visible. But what if the observable world, limited as it is by its own physicality, isn’t in itself enough to explain the scope of human experience; of individual thoughts and feelings?

 

During the last couple of years, South African painter Natasha Kissell, who celebrates her sixth solo exhibition with Has Alf Gallery this April, has become increasingly fascinated by the romantic era in British literature, where writers such as Samuel Palmer, William Blake and Emily Brontë were the major heroes. Especially the latter has had a profound influence on Kissell’s recent works, and thus the title of the show – ”Then Dawns the Invisible” – is a direct reference to Brontë’s “The Prisoner”, just like numerous work titles paraphrase lines in her most iconic poems.

 

Bridging the gap of centuries, a peculiar dialogue seems to have emerged between the painter and the poet. In much the same way as Brontë fantasized about a dream world that could be reached through perception, Kissell invites her audience to enter a foggy and unreal yet extremely familiar landscape, which seems to mirror the artist’s own imagination. Unlike Brontë, who famously ‘could never dream till the earth was lost’ to her, Kissell insists on being in the world and dreaming at the same time. It isn’t the poet’s resigned disdain with reality and the continuous pursuit of a vague dream that characterizes Natasha Kissell’s works: They are not fatalistic as their romantic model, but rather they seek to emphasize the dream as a real and beautiful possibility amid the hustle-bustle of everyday life.

 

And yet, a sense of melancholy is always present in Natasha Kissell’s works. As when she names a painting “For the World is More Full of Weeping, Than We Can Ever Understand” and openly references W. B. Yeats. But with Kissell, melancholy exists more as a profound solemnity; a reflection on the imperfect nature of reality in the face of the ideality of dreams. This play on utopian ideals is apparent in Kissell’s stylized portrayal of hyper symmetrical architecture, in the otherworldly light in her landscapes, or in the inner perspective of her paintings that always seems to defy itself to a certain extent. Kissell wants to remind us that, what we see is merely a fantasy. But we’re also encouraged to surrender to the illusion.

 

 

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