Clarendon old girl’s handy tips on art

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THE Clarendon High School for Girls matric art class were treated to a visit from Clarendon alumni and South African-born conceptual artist Susan Striepe.

ART AND ABOUT: South African-born conceptual artist Susan Striepe (front, centre) visited her old school (Clarendon High School for Girls) and treated the matric art class to a presentation on her work Picture: SUPPLIED

The artist, who is currently doing her month-long residency at Driftwood Studios near East London, gave the class of young aspiring artists a presentation on her work.

Striepe emigrated to the United States of America in 1986 and has been living in Nashville, Tennessee since 1988. Striepe has various accolades to her name, having obtained a BA degree in graphic design as well as a MA in Art Education.

Art has always been central to Striepe’s life and she is studying towards her MFA (Masters of Fine Art) Degree at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).

As a conceptual artist, the relationship between thinking practices and art- making practices is central to her work. Striepe uses – and experiments with – various materials and ideas to create a vibrant interactive situation between the audience and artwork.

“Conceptual art is an art where the idea takes precedence. It was the French artist, Marcel Duchamp, who claimed as early as 1917 that art could be made out of anything,” Clarendon High art teacher Natalie Van Wyk said.

The artist’s work directly addresses issues related to the anthropocene age. This is identified as the global impact people have had on the environment and other animals within that environment.

During her residency, Striepe plans to focus on the Dune forests. One of her central projects will be to create forms that will harness the coastal breezes in order to capture natural sounds.

Through her presentation to the Clarendon High School matric art class, Striepe explained her methods, materials and concepts she explores through her artwork.

“She is thinking of embedding them temporarily in the dunes,” Van Wyk said.

“As a separate and smaller project, she also plans to make castings of bird and dassie spoor and track plastics arriving on the beach.

“Sound recordings, video and photography will all be part of the process.”

Striepe’s visit to Clarendon High School was an eye-opener for the matric art class as conceptual or multimedia art is part of their Grade 12 theory syllabus.

“Students who study fine art at university may also choose new media as their specialisation. It was so interesting to meet and engage with an artist with an international reputation working in this way,” Van Wyk said.

Striepe will be holding an exhibition and a talk on her body of work, entitled “Intersectionality”, at the Driftwood Studio’s tomorrow as her residency comes to an end.

Using locally sourced natural and man-made materials, Striepe explores the intersections between the natural and the man-made within this body of work.

Through this, Striepe invites the public to be mindful of how we are relating with the world around us.

For more information or anyone interested in Striepe’s exhibition, contact Claire Kockott at info@driftwoodstudios.co.za

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