Thursday, 7 February 2008

Norman O'Flynn | South Africa

Waiting in Line by Norman O'Flynn

A new wave of South African artists are generating some real interest overseas. The person promoting this new wave is Suzette Bell-Roberts. (See South Africa Website |

Image: It's Never Too Late To Be A Man I, 2006 by Norman O'Flynn

The person at the forefront of this new wave is Norman O'Flynn who, in his mid thirties, has already co-curatored an interesting exhibition called 20-ARTISTS-06, Contemporary Landscape, Bell Roberts Contemporary, Cape Town in 2006, in which 20 of South Africa's contemporary artists submitted a print from their portfolio, which was then reproduced in a limited edition book of the same name. This show was a handy snapshot into the diverse and exciting local art scene.

Image: It's Never Too Late To Be A Man II, 2006 by Norman O'Flynn

Norman most recent show at Bell-Roberts, The Bull and Other Stories, showcased his cast of his endearing figurative characters. While the surface level of this work seemed to be both humorous and irreverent, there was a definite poignant subtext accompanying each and every piece. The character of the bull was repeated in the majority of the sculptures, yet all maintained a reassuringly unique identity that was created through a dedicated craftsmanship in various mediums. Norman has a knack for leaving the interpretation firmly in the viewer's control and through his playful labels he allows his audience to read the work in relation to themselves. His show gave off an impression of false simplicity that worked to complement the complex set of questions being posed in relation to power and the larger state of humanity.

Image: The Invitation by Norman O'Flynn

Norman has held 5 solo exhibitions since 2003, including Just Like Home (2006), which was shown in Switzerland, where he was completing a residency. He has also been included in multitude of group exhibitions, both locally and across the Continent: in Egypt, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. He lives and works as a practicing artist in Cape Town with his wife, Liza.

Image: The Contestant Wears Red by Norman O'Flynn

In February 2007 saw Norman expand his repertoire with his new exhibition Never too late to be a man.

Suzette Bell-Roberts
Bell-Roberts Gallery
89 Bree Street,
Cape Town, 8001
Phone: +27 (0)21 422 1100
Fax: +27 (0)21 423 3135

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