The annual Oakhill Art Exhibition was a treat for art lovers and those interested in how school leavers think.
Art teacher Amy Nuttall, her six matric students, their parents and Oakhill staff worked together to transform a ground floor flat in the Oyster Walk Apartments into a stylish exhibition space filled with canvasses, drawings, sculptures, installations and animated films and videos.
The exhibition was opened by Guy Thesen, a local artist who was Oakhill’s founding art teacher. Thesen said he was impressed by the students’ individual interpretations of the exam practical theme “Self/Other” and singled out one art work from each artist’s substantial body of work.
He said Auburn Mihalik’s Molocule Wire Man showed the frailty of the human form and how we are merely – and also more than – a collection of atoms. In Melissa Strydom’s 24 Men and a Symphony, human forms flowed out of the score sheet across the page. Sarah Davies explored the nature/nurture debate in Green Father, juxtaposing shapes and Chagall-inspired colours.
Thesen praised Claudia Spilsbury’s design and execution of her four large acrylic and glue paintings All of Me showing DNA, a thumb print, iris and heart beat – which identify us as individuals, her other work explored the dualism of soul and body. He complimented Nicole Bayes’s Transparency, a series of well-executed portraits of her classmates which point to the transient nature of identity. Mounting her pencil drawings on tracing paper between glass enabled them to be seen from either side, making a two dimensional image sculptural.
Hannah Laughton’s Video Dance Drawing was a kinetic art piece which drew together all the themes of her surrounding artwork. The video shows Laughton dancing to music, using her body as a paintbrush. Thesen said by watching the video and listening to the same music as Laughton the viewer entered deeply into the art work.
Oakhill College prides itself in the strength of its Arts Department. The Matric Art Exhibition is held towards the end of each year when the Grade 12 learners complete and showcase their creations for the final IEB examinations.