STEVENSON is pleased to present Portia Zvavahera's third solo exhibition with the gallery, I Can Feel It in My Eyes.
Zvavahera exhibits several new large-format paintings depicting young lovers in ecstatic embrace amongst the lush gardens of Harare's Central Park. Screened by gigantic flowers that protect and seclude them in their private love, the couples seem lost in their feelings, oblivious to the gaze of the outside world.
Painted in layers using oil bar and oil-based printing ink, areas are built up through multiple perspectives of modelled forms, and with flat patterned sections recalling the block-printing process of textile design. Rich and deeply coloured backgrounds shroud the couples, with sweeping brush marks and graphic gestures describing the natural surrounds. The couples' monumental figures appear to levitate in a primal space, as if they were beings from a parallel world - the powerful, strange and radically autonomous world of the artist.
Zvavahera's strength of intention and ability to express emotional depth are reflected in the intense moods and dreamlike states of consciousness evident in these works. Like secret pictures that lie just beyond the visible, these scenes communicate to their viewers an awareness of a deeply felt spiritual dimension drawn from the realm of love.
Zvavahera was born in 1985 in Juru, Zimbabwe, and lives in Harare. She studied at the BAT Visual Arts Studio under the guidance of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, and obtained a first-class Diploma in Visual Arts from Harare Polytechnic (2006). Recent group exhibitions are African Odysseys at Le Brass, Brussels, and Liberated Subjects: Present Tense at Foundation De 11 Lijnen, Belgium (both 2015). Solo exhibitions have taken place at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare, in 2010, and at Stevenson, Cape Town and Johannesburg, in 2014. The gallery held a solo presentation of her work at Frieze New York 2015. In 2014 she won the FNB Art Prize, awarded at the Joburg Art Fair, and in 2013 she was the recipient of the 10th Tollman Award for the Visual Arts. Also in 2013 Zvavahera represented Zimbabwe at the 55th Venice Biennale as part of the exhibition Dudziro: Interrogating the Visions of Religious Beliefs.Related press: Isabella Kuijers reviews for Artthrob, 24 August 2015; Lwandile Fikeni reviews for City Press, 16 August 2015; Lucinda Jolly reviews for Cape Times (6 August 2015); Ashraf Jamal reviews for Business Day (30 July 2015); Layla Leiman interviews for Between 10 and 5 (31 July 2015)
The gallery is open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, and Saturday from 10am to 1pm.