GAÏA 2 | ARTIST COLLECTION , JOHANNESBURG
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 1500 | 2022 
FOSSIL | ARTIST COLLECTION , JOHANNESBURG
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 1200 x 890 | 2022 
LOST WORLD | ARTIST COLLECTION , JOHANNESBURG
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 900 x 1200 | 2022 
Gold | ARTIST COLLECTION , JOHANNESBURG
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 750 x 560 | 2022 
Fields 3 | ARTIST COLLECTION , JOHANNESBURG
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 900 x 1500 | 2022 
Fields 2 | ARTIST COLLECTION , JOHANNESBURG
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 900 x 1500 | 2022 
Fields 1 | ARTIST COLLECTION , JOHANNESBURG
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 900 x 1500 | 2022
Scratched Bue | ARTIST COLLECTION , JOHANNESBURG
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2022

"What's left of kisses? … Wounds, however, leave scars". 

Bertolt Brecht 

 

The Japanese «wabi-sabi» philosophy celebrates imperfections and simplicity. It is concerned  with the passage of time, the way all things grow, age and decay. It suggests that beauty is hidden beneath the surface of what we actually see, even in what we initially perceive as broken. 

 

For over 500 years, ceramics in Japan have been given a new lease of life through the traditional  Japanese art form of sealing cracks with lacquer and gold powder. This technique of repair  embodies the «wabi-sabi» aesthetic, which embraces the beauty in imperfection. 

 

«Perfection» is simply a concept, hence it is fictional, unreachable and therefore a source of stress and  frustration… a lost battle. In our western world, all that is not «perfect» has a negative  connotation: «Flawed», «corrupt», «inferior»… when in fact «imperfection» is the true nature of Nature!  

 

André Le Nôtre was the French landscape gardener of Louis the XIV. He designed the magnificent  gardens of Versailles which represent the height of the  «jardin à la française» concept, based on  symmetry and the principle of imposing order on Nature.  

 

Originally, the land chosen to build Versailles mainly consisted of swamps, making it less than ideal for construction. Workers had to drain and level the land, thereby destroying  massive  swamp life. The Sun King's gardens and palace were  based in the destruction of Nature. The «jardin à la Française» is the opposite of what Nature is and epitomizes the dominance of Man over Nature.  

 

The widespread separation of humans from Nature in Western culture started with the rise of Judeo Christian values. Prior to this, paganism dominated and preserved the sacred nature of Nature, and  considered humanity being as part of it. 

 

Monotheism placed humankind outside of Nature. God made humans in his own image and gave them  dominion over every living thing upon the earth. René Descartes saw humans as superior to Nature. He was hugely  influential in shaping what science is today, and he boosted the rise of the Anthropocene, the era of  man's  domination on Earth.  

 

This morphed into a civilisation exploiting Nature for profit and contributing to the planet’s  downfall, driving climate and ecological breakdown. It took a long time for Western mainstream society to perceive its own nemesis and question its belief system: Viewing humankind as detached from Nature becomes ethically problematic and empirically false. 

 

Other cultures, traditional and indigenous groups however, see humankind as part of nature, emphasising the non-existence of an independent self and that all things depend on others. 

 

As a French man I've followed the Western path and I've always been an admirer of science and "harmony" as in les "jardins à la française". But lately, living on a farm for a year, close to Nature, far from the city of Johannesburg (where I have lived for over 30 years), I have had time and space to question myself and my Western belief system.  

 

A belief system that privileges "reason", that has undeniably liberated Man from his fear of forces he did not understand, but also left countless wounds and scars in our planet. 

 

Rural life has given me the opportunity to observe nature, introspect and ground myself. It has allowed me time to observe and embrace my own scars and lick old and more recent  wounds. 

 

Scars have the  power to remind us that our past is real and far from being perfect. One then comes to see that imperfection is normal and inherent to life.  

 

The Isibazi series is influenced by this confluence of situations and thoughts. Each work could be seen as a skin telling imperfect past stories, infused with an inherent Wabi Sabi aesthetic quality. 

 

We carry our skin as a tapestry that tells our story to those who can read it. 

 

Philippe UZAC 

February 2022  

(*) Isibazi = scar (Zulu) 

 

Isibazi 2 | everard read gallery , london
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 2000 x 1300 | 2022
Isibazi 1 | Private COLLECTor , london
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 2000 x 1300 | 2022
transition | ARTIST COLLECTION , Johannesburg
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 1520 x 1010 | 2021
ATAHUALPA | ARTIST COLLECTION , Johannesburg
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2021

My studio is located in the inner city’ industrial fringes. Downtown Johannesburg is an area that has tentatively been recovered from deterioration. Some of its surroundings are still rusted, stained, faded or disjointed… forming interesting patterns with rich textures, colours and tones in which any attentive observer can find beauty.

 

A panel of veined wood’s paint pealing off, exposing ancient layers of colours – or the raw weathered wood itself – carries beauty and nostalgia. Old cement floors waxed patiently and unremittingly over the years, rusting industrial equipment abandoned in a forlorn wasteland or walls of old buildings stained and patched with layers of paper board teared off and hanging in the wind, are a source of constant inspiration and instil in me a sense of abandonment and melancholy.

 

I look for an aesthetic in decay and try to capture it on canvas and on wood panels that I use as support to my work.

 

The process starts with a layer of black paint. Black is the absence of light and evokes the “Nothingness”, so dear to Martin Heidegger. But black is also one of the first colours used by man in the neolithic so, although “Nothing” is on the canvas at this stage of the process, it carries already the potentiality of “Everything”.


The dark canvas stays in a corner of my studio, maturing. It is the most powerful object, something like a black hole that devours all.

 

Eventually I cover the canvas with a first layer of colour. The process is then unleashed and entails at times up to fifteen layers of oil paint. It is a long process as it consists of the multi-layering of oil material – concocted in my studio with imported pigments – each layer needing to dry and to be “worked out” before the next one can be applied.

 

I reproduce the effects of time using tools such as knives and spatulas, but also chemicals and waxes, sandpaper and glue. It is a gruelling and physical exercise, constantly scratching, rubbing and sanding layers off.

It requires patience and the “right” configuration of all elements involved. It is a chaotic process that only terminates when, standing in front of the work, all inner tension is  gone.

 

The work is abstract in essence, each piece being an object that stands by itself. Its resonance is “fuelled” by the black matter underneath, so powerful that sometimes it devours the layers of colour covering it.

 

Works can be perceived at different scales, something like fractals. One of my favourite ways to look at them, is close to the canvas, exploring the complexity of shapes, textures and colours which play with my emotions and intellect.

 

“I always have the impression, that I write the same book” says the Nobel price of Literature Patrick Modiano. I could say the same about my work. This repeated process has existential connotations: Is there anything at all under the coloured layers of life that inevitably fade away with time?

 

Abstract painting is a solitary and sometimes arduous experience enshrined by meaning. One cannot venture into abstraction lightly. Essential questions arise inevitably during the process and answers, if any, are never simple. One must accept this mystery with humility and understand that more than a creative process, abstract painting is a quest in its rawest form.

 

Philippe UZAC

February 2015

 

 

 

 

“SUCKING THE CAT’S EARS” | Artist Collection , Johannesburg
Mixed media on canvas | 3000 x 2000 | 2021
“Untitled” | Artist Collection , Johannesburg
Mixed media on canvas | 3000 x 2000 | 2020
“Remember, Remember always” | PRIVATE Collection * , Johannesburg
Mixed media on canvas | 3000 x 2000 | 2020
“We all are immigrants” | Artist Collection , Johannesburg
Mixed media on canvas | 3000 x 2000 | 2020
EGOLI 25 | EVERARD READ GALLERY , Johannesburg
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2021
eGOLI 24 | arTIST COLLECTION , Johannesburg
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2021
eGOLI 23 | EVERARD READ GALLERY , Johannesburg
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2021
eGOLI 22 | PRIVATE COLLECTION – LONDON
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2021
eGOLI 21 | Artist Collection , Johannesburg
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 1145 x 850 | 2020
eGOLI 20 | PRIVATE COLLECTION – LONDON
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 1500 | 2020
POPOL VUH | Artist Collection, Johannesburg
Oil & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2020
NANO2 | Everard Read, Johannesburg
Oil & gold leaf on wood panel | 200 x 200 | 2020
NANO1 | Everard Read, Johannesburg
Oil & gold leaf on wood panel | 200 x 200 | 2020
“Donskoï” | Private Collector, Geneva
Oil & gold leaf on canvas | 1145 x 850 | 2020
 Mémoires 3 | Artist Collection , Johannesburg 

0il on canvas | 1500 x 1500 | 2020

Mémoires 2 | Artist Collection , Johannesburg 

0il on canvas | 1500 x 1500 | 2020

Mémoires 1 | Artist Collection , Johannesburg
0il on canvas | 1500 x 1500 | 2020
eGOLI 19 | Private Collection , Johannesburg
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 1145 x 850 | 2020
eGOLI 18 Everard Read Gallery , Johannesburg
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2019
eGOLI 17 | PRIVATE Collection * , Johannesburg
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2019
eGOLI 16 | Artist Collection , Johannesburg
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2019
eGOLI 15 | Private Collection , Johannesburg
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 1800 x 1500 | 2019
eGOLI 14  | Artist Collection, “Ode to Africa” (R. Tagore)
Oil & gold leaf on canvas | 1145 x 850 | 2019
eGOLI 13 | Private Collection, Ireland
Oil & gold leaf on canvas | 750 x 600 | 2019
eGOLI 12 | Everard Read Gallery , Johannesburg
0il & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2019
eGOLI 11 | PRIVATE COLLECTION, BALLITO – SOUTH AFRICA
Oil & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 1500 | 2018
eGOLI 10 | PRIVATE COLLECTION, FLORIDA – USA
Oil & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 1500 | 2018
KUU 1 | Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg
Oil & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2019
eGOLI 9 | Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg
Oil & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2018
eGOLI 8 | XXS House Hotel Lake District, UK
Oil & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 1100 | 2018
eGOLI 7 | PRIVATE Collection *, Johannesburg
Oil & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2017
Gaia Triptych | Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg | Oil and gold leaf on canvas | 2500 x 1350 | 2017
eGOLI 6 | Private Collection, Johannesburg
Oil & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 1500 | 2017
eGOLI 5 | Private Collection, Johannesburg
Oil & gold leaf on canvas | 1130 x 830 | 2017
eGOLI 4 | Private Collection, London
Oil & gold leaf on canvas | 1130 x 830 | 2017
eGOLI 3 | Private Collection, London
Oil & gold leaf on canvas | 1130 x 830 | 2017
eGOLI 2 | Private Collection, London
Oil & gold leaf on canvas | 1130 x 830 | 2017
eGOLI 1 | Everard Read Gallery, London
Oil & gold leaf on canvas | 750 x 600 | 2017
Laub 33 | Artist Collection
Oil on canvas | 1130 x 830 | 2019
Laub 32 | Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg
Oil & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2018
Laub 31 | Private Collection, Dubai
Oil on canvas | 1500 x 1500 | 2018
Laub 30 | Private Collection, Geneva
Oil on canvas | 1130 x 830 | 2018
Laub 29 | Private Collection, Cape Town
Oil & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2018
Laub 28 | Private collection, Johannesburg
Oil & gold leaf on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2018
Laub 27 | Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg
Oil on canvas | 1500 x 1500 | 2017
Laub 26 | Artist Collection
Oil on canvas | 1500 x 1500 | 2017
Laub 25 | Private Collection, Johannesburg
Oil on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2017

Entropy 2 | Private Collection *, Johannesburg
Oil on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2017

Entropy 1 | Private Collection *, Johannesburg
Oil on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2017
Laub 24 | Everard Read Gallery London
Oil on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2017
Laub 23 | Artist Collection Johannesburg
Oil on canvas | 1500 x 900 | 2017
Laub 22 | Artist Collection, Johannesburg
0il on canvas | 1500 x 1500 | 2017
Laub 21 | Private Collection Johannesburg
Oil on canvas | 1500 x 1500 | 2017
Laub  20 ” The mother of all spectra” | Private Collection, Cape Town
Oil on canvas | 1800 x 1600 | 2017
Laub 19 Triptych | Private Collection * | Oil on canvas | 1300 x 2490 | 2017
Laub 18 (Sally) | Private Collection, Dubai
oil on canvas | 1800 x 1600 | 2017
Laub 17 | Private Collection, Johannesburg
Oil on canvas | 1500 x 1500 | 2016
Laub 16 | Private Collection, Dubai
Oil on canvas | 1500 x 1500 | 2016
Laub 15 | Donated Bursary Foundation
Oil on canvas | 1500 x 1500 | 2016
Laub 14 | Artist Collection
Oil on canvas | 1800 x 1600 | 2016
Laub 13 | Private Collection*, Johannesburg
Oil on canvas | 1800 x 1600 | 2016
Laub 12 | Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg
Oil on canvas | 1800 x 1600 | 2016
Laub 11 | Private Collection, Johannesburg
Oil on canvas | 1800 x 1600 | 2016
Laub 10 | Private Collection*, Johannesburg
Oil on canvas | 1500 x 1500 | 2016
Laub 9 | Artist Collection, Johannesburg
Oil on canvas | 1500 x 1500 | 2016
Laub 8 | Private Collection, Johannesburg
Oil on canvas | 1500 x 1200 | 2016
Laub 7 | Private Collection, Johannesburg
Oil on canvas | 1500 x 1200 | 2016
Laub 6 | Private Collection*, Johannesburg
Oil on canvas | 1200 x 900 | 2016
Laub 5 | Private Collection* , Johannesburg
Oil on canvas | 900 x 1200 | 2015
Laub 4 | Artist Collection, Johannesburg
Oil on wood panel | 1500 x 1200 | 2015
Laub 3 | Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg
Oil on canvas | 1600 x 900 | 2015
Laub 2 | Private Collection *, Johannesburg
Oil on canvas | 1200 x 900 | 2015
Laub 1 | Private Collection, London
 Oil on canvas | 1500 x 1200 | 2015
Fox 8 | Private Collection, Johannesburg | Oil on Canvas

| 1200 x 900 | 2013

Fox 7 | Artist Collection, Johannesburg | Oil on wood panel

| 1200 x 900 | 2013

Fox 6 | Artist Collection Johannesburg | Oil on Canvas

| 1200 x 900 | 2013

Fox 5 | Private Collection, Johannesburg | Oil on Canvas
| 1200 x 900 | 2013
Fox 4 | Private Collection, Johannesburg | Oil on Canvas
| 1200 x 900 | 2013
Fox 3 | Private Collection London | Oil on Canvas
| 1200 x 900 | 2013
Fox 2 | Everard Gallery London | Oil on Canvas
| 1200 x 900 | 2013
Fox 1 | Private Collection, London | Oil on Canvas
| 1200 x 900 | 2013
Exhibitions
ART BEYOND BORDERS - BRUSSELS 2020
EVERARD READ - TINY 2020 JOHANNESBURG 2020
SOLO EXHIBITION - CIRCA GALLERY JOHANNESBURG 2020
EVERARD READ KNYSNA 2019
"SPECTRUM" EXHIBITION - CIRCA GALLERY 2018
EVERARD READ GALLERY JOHANNESBURG 2018
EVERARD READ GALLERY LONDON 2017
JOHANNESBURG ART FAIR 2017
SOLO EXHIBITION - EVERARD READ GALLERY JOHANNESBURG 2017
EVERARD READ GALLERY JOHANNESBURG 2016
VOGELSANG ART GALLERY BRUXELLES 2015
EVERARD READ GALLERY JOHANNESBURG 2014
EVERARD READ GALLERY JOHANNESBURG

6 Jellicoe Avenue, Rosebank 2196 South Africa

Johannesburg +27 11 788 4805

Mark Read

EVERARD READ GALLERY LONDON

80 Fulham Road, London SW36HR UK

London +44 20 7590 9991

Georgie Shields

VOGELSANG ART GALLERY

13 Avenue General De Gaulle 
Brussels, Belgium 1050
Brussels  +32 485 148845
New York +1 646 3227935

Gregoire Vogelsang

 

MUTUAL ART ONLINE
Artist Studio
JOHANNESBURG  –  SOUTH AFRICA

YODATA HOUSE

26, Roper Street

3rd Floor

SELBY

tel: +27 82 606 07 05

© 2020 Philippe Uzac, All Rights Reserved.