Lou Almon explains her work as an attempt to portray people and places using light and colour to define mood, emotion and relationships.
Filling the spaces Lou Almon explains her work as an attempt to portray people and places using light and colour to define mood, emotion and relationships.
Image: Lou Almon

An exploration of the intangibles of life brings artists Jacqueline Griffin-Jones and Lou Almon together again for a shared exhibition, titled Vestige, some 30 years after they first met at Rhodes University. We ask Almon five questions.

What was the inspiration for this exhibition? The inspiration for this body of work developed out of works and themes that I had started whilst living and working in my Fordsburg studio in Johannesburg. The exploration of people and movement and the spaces between us is still present in this recent work, however, the light and the colour of the Cape and the ocean has crept in. Now blues and the greens come to the fore to replace the grey and white colour of the cityscapes of old. In these new paintings a quietness, almost a stillness, came.

The sound of breath when swimming, a rhythm and pattern that is attuned to the ocean. And yet, yet the figures remain. Forever present. 

Jacqueline Griffin-Jones is exhibiting for the third time at the Irma Stern Museum. She says her paintings read like a contemporary dystopian inventory of artefacts.
Jacqueline Griffin-Jones is exhibiting for the third time at the Irma Stern Museum. She says her paintings read like a contemporary dystopian inventory of artefacts.
Image: Jacqueline Griffin-Jones

Your recently move to Cape Town has changed your work. Can you elaborate? Yes it has. My work is a reflection of me and my immediate environment. Cape Town, and in particular my location in Kalk Bay overlooking the False Bay sea, have opened up a more contemplative, blue imagery. Now we see bathers at Dalebrook pool, walkers on the promenade and browsers in the village streets.

You work a lot in mono prints but this time you have chosen a new medium. Why? This body of work is oil on canvas, a move away from the multi-layered mono prints that I have worked on for the past few years. I decided to work in oils because of the diversity and depth of the medium. The paint can be at once used directly and simply or it can be layered, scraped, scratched and smoothed ... by hands, brushes or knives ... enriching the images with new depth and movement.

What is your work process? My work is mostly intuitive, reflecting my interpretation of my lived experience. In doing so I try to capture the nuances of movement, the moments of mood and sensibility, exploring the presence of others about me and the spaces in between each of us. 

If you had to describe your work in one sentence, what would it be? Capturing the spaces, colours, movement and oneness of living in conscious observation of the presence of others.

- The official opening of Jacqueline Griffin-Jones and Lou Almon’s Vestige is at midday on Saturday October 13. The exhibition runs from October 6 to 20 at the Irma Stern Museum in Cape Town.

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