2017, Salon 91, Cape Town
Kirsten Sims’s solo shows are an expression of where she is in her life. At the time of her first solo show, Middle of Nowhere, she had graduated from her Honours degree and left Stellenbosch to move to Cape Town. With her first solo show behind her, You Are Here marked a period of making a home in Cape Town and becoming more established in her career. Like every four years in our calendar, Leap Year was a deviation from the norm existing as an online exhibition at a time she felt an urge to experiment with exhibition formats. In the year she turns 30, Kirsten presents Saturn Return.
The planet Saturn takes 29,5 years to orbit the sun and return to the place in the sky that it occupied at the time of one’s birth. The Saturn Return is the astrological period that occurs in a person’s late twenties as they move into full adulthood in their thirties. It’s known to be a time of tumultuous transition and self-reflection. The show Saturn Return is inspired by this phenomenon and characterises a progression in Kirsten’s art and process. The body of work stems from a place of self-knowing, and materialises with a confidence to test new techniques and colours; to make marks boldy. As a whole the works are bigger. Kirsten plays with scale both in terms of canvas size and the subjects within the frame: a giant rug is hung from a wall looming over a string of tiny people that walk beneath it; people at an art exhibition are engulfed in flecks of abstract red paint that have left the frame.
As ever in Kirsten’s paintings, place is significant in Saturn Return: both recognisable (a European cafe scene, a public swimming pool in Sea Point) and imagined. In some works natural landscapes show an absence or hint of human activity and in other works her signature characters fill the scene in a flurry of interaction and fashion at a soiree or garden party. Each gives the distinct feeling that you have been here, or felt this, before.
Written by Alix Rose Cowie
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