In this body of work, the artist introduces colorful acrylic paint for the first time, returning to a classic fine art medium that he has not employed since he was a student.
Hlobo’s combination of acrylic with his signature leather and satin ribbon interventions unites craft and fine art materials within a single canvas, reflecting his enduring interest in resisting strict dichotomies and hierarchies in favor of fluid hybridity.
Nicholas Hlobo allows himself to work intuitively, painting abstract forms directly onto canvas as they emerge from his subconscious, and throughout this process, his narrative reading of each work continually evolves as it is influenced by his philosophical and intellectual landscape.
There are very few things that are planned from conception, and most are allowed to create themselves. It is all by chance that [these works] got to have the same characteristics. They somehow got to be part of the same family. That is informed by how the acrylic paint has been maneuvered.Artist
These two works form a pair of lizards, one female and one male. Ndange Cilikishe translates to “embrace me, Master lizard,” while Sondela maCilikishe means “come closer, Madam lizard.” The female lizard is depicted looking longingly towards her partner while the male calls to his mate for a passionate embrace.
Hlobo genders his lizards with an eye towards the animal kingdom, particularly birds, where the most elaborate plumage is reserved for the male of the species. These two paintings form a reptilian family, and the works Iyuk'welincinci and Iyuk'welidala represent the children born to these lizard parents.
Nicholas Hlobo: Elizeni Ienkanyiso is on view until 23 April. Book your visit here.
Text and images via Lehmann Maupin, read more here.