KZNSA Gallery, Durban, South Africa
Go to Gabi Ncgobo's Opening Speech
The work is created using a process of layering white gesso on top of black gesso to create a controlled surface in which the dark layer sits just beneath a thin, light skin and thereby alludes to a metaphorical weight beneath the surface of things.
The images reference experiences both forgotten and remembered, and are created by sanding through the thin top layer to reveal the dark gesso beneath. Because they are not painted but sanded the image is often in soft focus and therefore can be mirage-like.
Both the image and the surrounding environment are pared down, and in some of the pieces the figures are dwarfed by their environments. Many of the works are multi-panelled pieces, which allows a dialogue to be set up between the different panels within a composite piece.
Often the source material for the works plays an important role conceptually for example; I have made use of images of Durban and Johannesburg that have been taken from stock advertising photographs that I have cropped to reveal a more gritty view of the city. While I am working with essentially mundane everyday objects, it is the juxtaposition of those images that creates a sense of the sinister.