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A sculptor garden has opened in Fourways to draw attention to the need for open, attractive public spaces in a built-up environment.
NESTLED between new housing and shopping developments in Fourways lies an oasis of art, filled with sculptures by Mark Swart, that was designed to draw attention to the plight of the natural world.

 

A visitor to the garden is dwarfed by Mark Swart’s ‘I almost cut my hair’ sculptureA visitor to the garden is dwarfed by Mark Swart’s ‘I almost cut my hair’ sculpture“The motivation for the project was based on a growing concern that new developments and neighbourhoods are being erected with no consideration towards public parks and spaces. We felt the need to bring about an environmental change in the area and introduce an exciting new garden feature for the public to enjoy,” says Platinum PR’s Sophie Abendanon.
 

The exhibit officially opened on 26 March, and is a collaboration between Graham’s Fine Art Gallery and Swart. Walkabouts with the artist have taken place on Saturday mornings since the opening, with Swart explaining the reasoning behind each of the 23 pieces. There will be one more walkabout on 9 April.

The first three sculptures form the “Knott from this World Series”, comprising pieces named Lisa, Green GT3 (after the Porsche) and Simone. “The idea originated from me wanting to knot a piece of steel, which is not a very easy thing to do, especially the thicker the material,” Swart explains.

“In this series of sculptures, I played with the plasticity of the material, taking its known qualities of hardness and rigidity, and replacing and contrasting them with fluidity, softness and pliability.”

He works predominantly with steel, with stainless and corten steel his preferred materials. Corten is also known as weathering steel, and appears to be rusted if it is placed outside. Thirteen of the sculptures in the exhibit are made from this material, and Swart considers one of these, the Reading Figure, “[his] best work”.

“Reading Figure is made of negative spaces and off-cuts from other work; it involves layering one thing on top of another and becomes a dimensional exercise as well as representing something.”

 

Mark Swart explains the reasoning behind the piece ‘Nature’s wisdom - notice the beauty’Mark Swart explains the reasoning behind the piece ‘Nature’s wisdom - notice the beauty’Layering plays a large role in Swart’s work. “I piece together metal parts to create a distinctive and emblematic form of an animal or figure, reducing them to fundamental lines and curves.” This is particularly noticeable in Study for a Horse, which combines many different pieces of corten steel.
 

He also often uses off-cuts from projects he has worked on to create new art pieces. “In my work, there are a few different veins of exploration. I am not following strict constringent themes, but rather use the material to express itself through the medium.”

Swart completed a national higher diploma in art in 1991, and became a full-time designer and sculptor in 1992. A well-known artist today, his art is sought-after both locally and internationally.

The exhibition is being hosted in the park area surrounding Graham’s Fine Art Gallery, which is located at the Lifestyle Centre in Broadacres, Fourways.

“The exhibition is a permanent display. However, the sculptures are for sale and when one is sold, it will be replaced by a new, fresh sculpture, so the park itself has a life of its own,” says Abendanon.

The centre is on the corner of Valley and Cedar Roads. For more information, contact the gallery on 011 465 9192 or visit its website.

Graham’s Fine Art Gallery is open from Monday to Sunday, from 9am to 5pm.

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