#TAF17: ‘Touch’ reveals hot new painterly talent

Since the first Graduate Painters Exhibition at the Turbine Art Fair (TAF) in 2015 this project has proven to be one of the highlights on this annual Art Fair, aimed at promoting emerging as well as established talent in an accessible and enjoyable way.

With the current international resurgence of interest in painting paired with a focus on contemporary emerging African talent, this project initiated by TAF attempts to track some of the current conceptual concerns and aesthetic trajectories apparent in South African and African art practice right now. For new collectors, this is an ideal opportunity to invest in this future generation.

Curated in 2015 by artist Hentie van der Merwe, at the time Senior Lecturer and Head of Fine Arts at the Visual Arts Department of the Stellenbosch University, the first instalment featured some of the best post-graduate painting from fine arts departments across South Africa – Michaelis Art School (UCT), Rhodes University, Stellenbosch University and Wits School of Arts (WSOA). The 2015 TAF Painters exhibition was the first time since 1988 that a graduate exhibition had been assembled. This exhibition resulted in a sell-out success.

Last year artist Tanya Poole, Senior Lecturer and Head of the Painting Section at the Fine Art Department of Rhodes University, curated an extraordinary exhibition following the progress of some of the artists who featured in Emerging Painters 2015 as well as showcasing new emerging artists. Poole’s exhibition extended the search for young emerging painters with a promising career ahead of them.

This year the Graduate Painters Exhibition is curated by Johannesburg based artist Jessica Webster in collaboration with Amber-Jade Geldenhuys and MC Roodt. The title of the 2017 exhibition is Touch and will feature paintings emphasising surface-quality and texture. The three curators bring a wide variety of painterly forms into focus: Such as how thick layers of paint may heighten a sense of the psycho-somatic; or how painting in ultra-thin layers provokes an experience of the ethereal. Alternatively, painting in a hyper-realistic fashion can capture the visual textures of objects and figures. The show is aimed at evoking a deep impression of sensuality in the materiality of painting.

Jessica Webster has had two major solo shows with the Goodman Gallery, one in Johannesburg and the other recently in Cape Town. In 2015 she showed Murderer in Johannesburg and earlier this year Wisteria at the Goodman in Cape Town. She is in the process of completing a PhD in the Philosophy of Painting at Wits.



MC Roodt is an artist, writer and curator actively involved in audience development, strategy drafting and cultural production on diverse local and international platforms. He is currently managing an Arts & Health programme and is chairman of the special interest group in Arts & Health at the Public Health Association of South Africa.



Amber-Jade Geldenhuys is a conceptual artist and curator. She is a founding member of gRRR Kollective running since 2015. Exhibiting regularly since 2008, Geldenhuys’ achievements include an Absa L’Atelier Merit Award in 2011, a Mixed Media Merit Award at the Ekurhuleni Thami Mnyele National Fine Arts Awards in 2010, and first prize at the PPC Cement Young Concrete Sculptor Awards in 2009.


Johan Myburg

Turbine Art Fair (TAF17) runs from 13-16 July at the Turbine Hall in Newtown, Johannesburg. For more info as well as booking information visit www.turbineartfair.co.za.