Jaroslav Kalac Review : A solo exhibition by Claire Denarie Soffietti at the Cape Gallery,
March 22– 25 April, 2015.
Some exhibitions tend to toy with one’s humility and may tempt the unwary admirer of the works into a ego- slick quagmire of playing “spot the artist’s influence.”
Once the names have been dropped and the sweet air of self satisfaction has been exhaled, there exists a risk that the art itself has paled into playing second fiddle to it’ s possible origins.
Which is a sad fate, for a thing of beauty.
And no doubt a source of chaffing irritation for the artist.
Fortunately, Ms.Soffietti through her work at the Cape Gallery shows an elusive spirit in terms of both style and subject matter and though her influences may be obvious, her novel approach to re creationism often inverts/subverts the invisible hands of the Masters that may hover over her.
The fascination with uniquely sensual aspect of distinctive French flavored eras permeates the majority of the exhibition, which is of little surprise as Ms.Soffietti was born and raised in Versailles and has lived in Italy, Barbados and South Africa.
The ghosts of Miro, Lautrec and Picasso stalk each other through the bold colours, through which street scenes, iconic animals and nudes are depicted.
Playfully usurping the chic Gallic poster culture of the 40’s and the 60’s by the use of surrealism and minor scale abstraction, the artist simultaneously pays a kindly yet amused homage to the mildly cloying romantic whimsy of the post War years.
The mystical goats and startlingly large crows that populate some of the more enigmatically beautiful pieces are counter balanced by the mischief that begat the geisha kitsch rendition of Yoko.
The thickly layered acrylics on canvas are the perfect foil for the bright bold simplicity of the twists in time that echo of magic, lipstick and Galois cigarettes.