Concurrently on view in the Thinkspace project room is Seek My Fort, featuring new works by Southern African artist Ryan Hewett. An accomplished painter with a vested interest in the expressive power of portraiture, Hewett paints with a freely guttural and expressionistic license. His rich oil paintings reconcile the representational with the abstract in a way that suspends their respective classifications as genres. Seeking the visceral power of mark making, while capturing an impressionistic likeness of a sitter, the artist reveals the fundamental power of paint and gesture. The paintings border on the sculptural, as their materiality dominates in the brutally forceful execution of the paint.
Hewett pushes the traditional tenets of portraiture, refusing the paradigm of verisimilitude in favor of the raw power of execution. The sitter becomes a vehicle for the artist’s hand, rather than a primary subject unto itself. In Hewett’s hands the work become about making and the arrest and translation of a fleeting moment of viewing. As a result, the works become powerful revelations of the inner workings of the artist, rather than vague suggestions of the identities of the observed.