City-dwellers are familiar with noise better than anyone else. The constant roaring of car engines and the never-ending chatter of people talking are inseparable parts of city life. The noise rarely ceases, giving way to silence. But there is always a dichotomy to urban spaces: surrounded by a constant swarm of sounds, we still often feel lonely. Madeleine van Manen is a South African artist who has come very close to capturing the isolation of big cities. BUILT, her first solo exhibition of mixed-media art with the Cape Town-based art gallery Nel, invites you to embrace the solitude and silence people are so used to running from in their daily lives.
Madeleine van Manen’s First Solo Exhibition of Mixed-Media Art at Nel
Madeleine van Manen is a multimedia artist based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is well-versed in a variety of mediums, from oils and gouache to pastel and printmaking. Van Manen has spent a significant part of her career working in graphic design and advertising. In 2009, she became a full-time artist in addition to teaching art at the Lycée Français du Cap. A lot of the artist’s work is dedicated to exploring silence and isolation, her beloved subjects. Van Manen often depicts cityscapes and nature, focusing on the feelings of desertion and solitude that these environments evoke.
Madeleine van Manen’s first solo show titled BUILT is a further exploration of the themes of isolation and silence. This month, at Nel, the artist will present her new works in watercolor, oils, and engraving, as well as mixed-media art. The mediums she chooses perfectly reflect the sentiments that she seeks to convey. Gouache-painted skyscrapers look serene and lonely against the dull, cloudy sky, and the reliefs of the buildings engraved in the canvas allow us to appreciate the complexity of seemingly mundane architecture.
BUILT is an ode of love to the less visible solitary pockets of silence inside the urban space. While many of us fear isolation and loneliness, van Manen urges the viewers to reevaluate the way they relate to the city and their place among its skyscrapers, graffiti-covered walls, and staircases, without being interrupted by noise.
BUILT will open on Wednesday, October 18, at 117 Long Street, Cape Town. The preview will take place at 12pm, with the exhibition officially opening at 6pm. Do not miss a chance to meet Madeleine van Manen and see her mixed-media art in person at Nel.