SANAVA x Cité Internationale des Arts Benefit Auction

Timed Online Auction, 7 - 21 February 2023

SANAVA x Cité Internationale des Arts Benefit Auction
  • Marlise Keith; Founder's Voice
  • Marlise Keith; Founder's Voice
  • Marlise Keith; Founder's Voice

Lot Estimate
ZAR 25 000 - 30 000

About this Item

Marlise Keith
South African 1972-
Founder's Voice
Derwent Inktense, Faber-Castell Polychromos & aquarelle pencils, Caran d’ Ache Permanent colour pencils, Mungyo oil pastels and collage on Fabriano 300 gsm.
70 by 100cm excluding frame; 82,5 by 112 by 4cm including frame


Arist's Bio

Marlise Keith is known for her mixed media collages; large-scale drawings in pencil, ink, and acrylics; and most recently, for her small sculptures of fabric, embroidery and found objects. Her subject matter is vast, drawing inspiration from a mental medley of horrific news headlines, colonial history, friends’ pets, psychopathology, girlhood memories, dreams, Pinterest, her persistent, chronic migraines, and roadside memorials. Subjects too daunting, too confused, or too subliminal to articulate in neat words and sentences, are processed through mark-making; offering an alternative 'understanding' of a world that often does not make sense in traditional, logical language. This violence emerges in plentiful paint; sometimes it’s suggested by the very act of mark-making itself – paper is gouged, scratched, sanded, torn, folded, and nailed.

The question of value is often explored through Keith’s other choices of media. In her assemblages she juxtaposes found objects and media of varying value: well-worn but beloved t-shirts, expensive gesso, broken curios, highly specialised micro-mosaic, R5 Store purchases and luxurious fabrics are combined and further worked with embroidery, intricate line, fur, paint, and sequins. The creatures seem to emerge directly from Keith’s self-labelled mental “soup”, equal parts cute and hideous, dark and witty. The result is a richly layered body of work both violent and uncanny, made more surreal with a playful use of colour and humour. The latter draws in the viewer to a closer scrutiny of the darker complexities lurking beneath, which offer endless possibilities of meaning.

Artist's Statement

Famous author Kurt Vonnegut said, “Practice any art ... no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what's inside you, to make your soul grow.” I am often tongue-tied when people ask me what my work is about. How do I explain this 'Vonnegut-becoming', the almost automatic process of making, often a mild surprise to me when it is done? My subject matter is vast, drawing inspiration from news headlines, which I try to avoid at all costs, our messy colonial history, fauna, flora, psychopathology, girlhood memories, dreams, overloaded visual world, and migraines. Never ending migraines. When we view and/or make art, I think we witness the growing of our souls, in all its triumph and gore. The artist executes and an artwork records their ‘becoming’. The viewer stands witness and hopefully finds out what is inside them, what makes their soul grow.

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