4 August - 11 September 2004
Following her third solo exhibition in Cape Town, Tracy Payne exhibits new paintings at Michael Stevenson alongside her contemporaries, Deborah Poynton and Diane Victor. It is through the process of art making and painting in particular that Payne investigates and explores life. In the spring of 2002, Tracy travelled to Tokyo and became fascinated with capturing sakura, Japan's national flower, the cherry blossom on film. She also found inspiration in the myriad of images of kinbaku, erotic rope bondage.
Moving away from the pornographic nature of the images, Payne used them in a more classical sense as the bound nude, to symbolize what in Buddhist language is known as samsara: conditioned existence, that is, living a life of superficial habits and compulsions. The artist chooses to portray woman in bondage since she believes it to be a potent metaphor for the addictive patterns so many fall prey to. Payne says: "In our search for happiness and freedom we are often seduced into believing that something outside of ourselves will bring us that much sought after relief, but in actual fact we just end up tightening the ropes that bind us." The cherry blossoms are a reminder of the cyclical nature of life, death and rebirth, they offer hope, freedom from bondage, they mark the beginning of spring and the oncoming of summer and fruitfulness.
Working in oil on canvas, starting with an abstract language of washes and puddles she builds up veils of illusion. Imagery is handled with photographic precision yet maintaining a certain transparency at times, so that all the levels of perception interact creating a harmonious painting.
Tracy Payne was born in Cape Town in 1965. She graduated from the University of Cape Town in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art majoring in painting. She received numerous awards and scholarships and has exhibited extensively since then. The documentary Hush, a portrait of Tracy Payne, by Renee Scheltema, formed part of the official programme of the International Festival of Woman's Film' in Creteil France in 2000. More recently another documentary directed by Takako Mori for Nippon TV focused on her search for sakura (cherry blossom) which led her to the Matsumoto Mountains, the foothills of the Japanese Alps. Tracy works out of her studio in Observatory in Cape Town.
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