Review: 365 Postcards for Ants

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365 Postcards for AntsDynamite comes in small packages they say, and at 6 Spin Street a new exhibition of miniature paintings by artist Lorraine Loots holds an explosion of colour, detail and emotion that very few artists could capture, even on a ‘life-sized’ canvas.

Framed in raw wood just 12.5cm square, Loots’ images are tiny bite-sized depictions of iconic Cape Town scenes, people, animals and objects.  Visitors are encouraged to use a magnifying glass to properly view the paintings, and sure enough lifting the glass to each image reveals a remarkable detail and energy imperceptible to the naked eye.

The painting 21 September is a simple image of three white Jasmine with a drop of water bulging heavily from the end of a bud.  The magnifying glass reveals hints of the flowers’ surroundings and the increased concentration required in the study of the tiny image brings to the fore that distinctive atmosphere of a cold, moist morning in Cape Town where the sun has yet to rise and lift the mist.  This experience reinvents the way we view paintings, creating an element of surprise in viewing familiar landmarks and recognisable inhabitants of the mothercity.

Rather than conventional titles, Loots has named each image for a particular day of the year. Fans of her work have begun to request dates in advance, sometimes sharing with Loots their own sentimentality for a date, in a way that puts a new spin on  the creative process, altering the artist/viewer relationship through collaboration, and making the painting meaningful to more than just the artist.

Although the originals have all been sold (R 900 each), limited edition postcard-sized prints are available at the exhibition at a cost of R 400 each.

Janice Garman

The 365 Postcards for Ants Exhibition runs at the 6 Spin Street Restaurant in the centre of Cape Town until 5 February 2015.

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