signed; inscribed with the artist's name, the date 1993, the medium and the title on a Tatham Art Gallery label adhered to the reverse
There is more than a hint of experimentation in this extraordinary painting by Diamond Bozas. Having trained in the 1950s at the Chelsea School of Art in London, and developed his style thereafter in relative isolation in his studio in Eshowe, Thorn and other Trees, Ndongwenya Park, Ulundi was painted shortly after the artist completed an inspiring residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. The two central thorn trees, bare in the main and beautifully entangled, dominate the composition. The thicket of branches – whether each dry and crooked or light and supple – is quite mesmerising, as if carefully and divinely interwoven. On close inspection the sweeps of olive, crimson and bronze might become clear, as might the quick flicks of ochre, grey and amber, but at a glance the canopy of trees appears only as an intricate, exquisite pattern. This emphasis on the two-dimensionality of the surface is typical of Bozas’s style, even if the artist never strayed too far from recognisable forms. Thin, rod straight trunks punctuate the landscape beyond, which recedes towards the horizon in clear, parallel bands of green, yellow, teal and lime. Yet there is a stripped, stark, spare element to the painting, and one gets a sense that the artist has treated his beloved, rural KwaZulu-Natal landscape as Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, whose severe, rustic style he so appreciated, would have treated an arrangement of apples and vessels on a bare table.
Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg, Diamond Bozas: Life and Work, 2013.
Brendan Bell and Bryony Clark (eds.) (2013). Diamond Bozas: Life and Work, Pietermaritzburg: Tatham Art Gallery. Illustrated in colour on page 139.