Madeline Groenewald - Variations on a Theme by John Herschel
Masters Graduate Shows
The Masters in Fine Arts programme is a stretch of time in which graduates cut their teeth through a rigorous interrogation of their art practices within a two-year dedication to their projects. The process, although supervised, is a predominantly self-motivated endeavour, and exemplifies the highest standard of practice at the Michaelis School of Fine Art.
Variations on a Theme by John Herschel
Variations on a Theme by John Herschel is an interdisciplinary body of work based on British astronomer John Herschel’s visit to Cape Town in the 19th century, where he completed a systematic survey of the southern celestial sphere. The observations he made in the Cape were novel scientific contributions and exceptionally diverse, expressed not only through astronomy but also through fields such as botany, geology, poetry and visual art.
Groenewald used Herschel’s representations from and of the Cape as a central theme which she then developed through a series of variations. These included, for example, hiking up Table Mountain to locate the rock from where Herschel produced a panoramic sketch in 1837 and later translating this excursion into music. Through methodical processes of mapping, tracing and translating, the exhibition aims to explore the boundaries between subjective and objective perception and to create a dialogue across time and space: between the artist and her experience of Cape Town and John Herschel’s explorations of this same space 180 years ago.