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Desiree Brand - "Vineyard Shaman"
W: 90mm x H: 420mm x D: 240mm
This work is unframed
About "Vineyard Shaman"
This life size portrait was modelled in clay. The artist worked from photographs that she took of the model, Lottie Engelbrecht. Lottie has an intricate relationship with the vines which inspired this surreal portrait of a man who displays a form of agricultural/ecological intelligence in his everyday tending to the irrigation of vineyards in the Olifantsriver wine region. Lottie has been working on these farms for the past two decades and since the year 2000 also as assistant in a small wine cellar. He has the capacity to move fast between the vines, going about his work reliably and efficiently. His disabilities cause him to have some physical resemblance to the gnarled and mutilated vines; as they too seem injured, be it by manâ€™s agricultural practice or by their own inherent qualities. Early in the morning well before sunrise or sometimes late at night, during the harvest when wine making demands unruly hours (like that expected of a midwife or shaman) he crosses the two kilometres between his job and (for him, conveniently isolated) home, under the Sishen/Saldahna railway bridge where he along with his spouse have been practising some undocumented winemaking experiments of their own. One can imagine him moving swiftly along in gloomy light with his one keen eye on the rough uneven terrain, being vigilant of coming across snakes or other dangerous challenges along the road. The wine produced from the fruit of the vine seems to have a hold on him for various reasons; speculatively the molecules of the vines through constant tending have become part of him. We all become part of our surroundings as we are made of clay and come from the earth. Engelbrecht and Van Zyl are the two most prominent surnames of local inhabitants in the district, staking Lottieâ€™s claim to his locality. When it comes to the unique end product of the boutique wine cellar where this labourer works, one has to add one more ingredient to Gallileo Galileiâ€™s quote, â€œwine is light, captured in waterâ€, this being Lottieâ€™s labour, along with his employer farmer-winemaker as they share a symbiotic responsibility and relationship without which the alchemy of the wine would suffer.
Desire likes to explore different media such as oils, acrylics, pastels, cont. and drawing inks, however she always returns to sculpting, her subject mostly being the human form. The artist prefers a slightly idealized naturalistic style when sculpting portraits. Her sculpture medium varies from wood, ceramic, clay cast in cement fondue, mosaic and bronze.
Solo: Somerset West 1980
BA Fine Art NMMU, MTech Design CPUT
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