GEORGE TOBIAS: MY LITTLE KINGDOM
PRIVATE VIEW: FRIDAY 4th SEP 7PM
EXHIBITION: SAT 5th SEP – SAT 26th SEP, WEDS – SAT, 12 – 6PM
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“Impolite, imprecise and flagrantly disobedient of normative values, George’s things – made from clay, found materials, imprints and reclaimed debris – make meaning out of waste, revel in the ill-formed, the unfinished and the rough. Out of this concerted crudity, something precious and perfect emerges. It deserves to be seen. It unsettles, unnerves and unbalances us.” Professor Tamar Garb (Head of the Department of History of Art, at University College, London)
With the present exhibition of George Tobias’ paintings, assembled pieces and sculpture, the collaborative association between the artist and the Horse Hospital, which began in 2006, continues, bringing to view works which have emerged from the artist’s most recent explorations.
These new works have seen him passing from working sculpturally into working predominantly with paint, enabling him to bring further into the centre of his artistic perspective the individuals of whose meaning for him he wishes to tell, and of his appreciation for whom he wishes to sing and shout, in bold, frank and joyful colours. These include his friends, family, lovers, a historical figure or two as well as his beloved dog Hercules.
So negligible, it seems, is the space separating George Tobias’ inner experience of life from the activity which issues in the finished works of his output, that the works themselves have the feel – and, often, the disclosing content – of an utterance of deeply personal admission, or of a thoroughly human witnessing, conveyed with gleeful humour and disarming honesty and with a degree of intimacy that renders him, the artist, and you, the viewer, vulnerable before one another; creating the occasion for possible communication, which so motivates George Tobias.
Mirroring the multi-faceted aspect of a biographical, artistic journey encompassing such disparate influences as an exposure to the “western cannon”, the early-life inculcation of Jewish family, cultural and ethical values, the coming of age against the backdrop of apartheid South Africa, the imbibing of Marxist convictions of solidarity with the dis-empowered, through his beloved father, to his life today, lived practising and teaching the spiritual path of the Buddha, George Tobias’ works, gather up and hold together a fascinating and strange array of intellectual and political themes, passions and loves.
George Tobias has also previously exhibited at the Margaret Street Gallery (2012); Kester and Bles Gallery (2009); The Open at the Whitechapel Gallery (1986). In the country of his birth, South Africa, his exhibitions include; ‘Democracy X’, which celebrated the first ten years of ANC rule in South Africa (2004, Cape Town); in the ‘Dada South’ show, the South African National Gallery (2009-2010, Cape Town); and ‘Migrant Journeys’ presented by the Witwatersrand Art Museum, Johannesburg (2013), which holds, in its permanent collection, a significant number of George Tobias’ diaries and sketchbook. His films are on YouTube and can be found under George Tobias [“ all that glitters is not gold “].