NUX Maritzburg Student News No 4
A recent edition to the tradition of anthropomorphism, these sculptures have developed from their initial starting points which were the association with chess pieces. Janet Solomon has combined the features of P.W. with those of a springbok, seeing in both the embodiment of ‘national spirit’. In the process the features have become unnatural to both, and not a little demonic. This sculpture was in response to a project entitled ‘National Monument’
The second sculpture was to combine features of Desmond Tutu with those of a ram. An apt choice considering all the spiritual extensions of the ram. In this piece, it is the fairing nostrils and curving horns that make the combination convincing.
The decision to combine the features of Tereblanche with those of a warthog possibly owes much to the similarity of personalities of the two creatures. It just seems such a natural portrayal. Both exude the same charisma.
Although usually a difficult task for artists, Janet gave some description of her motivation for these works. Stemming from the title – Rubber Neck Series – are the ideas of impotence, castration and bestiality. The rigid structure of chess pieces is only suggested – by ridges down a neck or the application of textures. Otherwise the dominant structural emphasis is that of sagging substance.
After tackling people of prominence and known to her largely through media, Janet attempted to produce a self portrait. It was hard work, not only discovering an animal image she identified with, but trying to describe herself sculpturally. The mainstream of Janet’s pieces is that they have plenty to offer if the viewer is prepared to dally over detail.