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The strange figures in Torr’s intimately-scaled paintings journey across desolate landscapes, under dark skies. These undefined, liminal spaces function as internal landscapes, with the creatures serving as figurations of the roles we play, and our relationships.
Their destination is unclear – Torr is focusing on the journey itself and how these beings (or we) deal with our circumstances and navigate new roles. Nothing about the works is prescriptive, though; there is a strong sense of ambivalence in the paintings, seen in the calmly enigmatic expressions of the subjects, whether a lamb, a blue-striped tiger or hooded humanoid.
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The exhibition incorporates work by fellow Pretoria-based artist Allen Laing, whose ritualistic sculptural inventions explore ways in which we can respond to and reflect on the daily struggles we face, as we interact with our environments.
His collaged wooden masks in this exhibition are mirrored in Torr’s paintings, concealing the faces of some of her subjects; an intuitive reference to identify formation and how we alter ourselves to interact with the different people around us.
The artistic practice of both Torr and Laing is uniquely strange and sensitive. But through their works, both artists help us to look at our personal circumstances and journeys, and form a sense of our own narrative.
Torr attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Parsons School of Design in New York in 2010, and returned to South Africa to work as an artist and arts educator. She has exhibited in group and solo show around the country. This is her second exhibition with 99 Loop.
Laing graduated from the University of Pretoria with a Fine Art degree and specialises in mixed media sculptures with machine aesthetic. He is one of the founding members of Found Collective, a collective for collaboration and promotion of the arts in Pretoria. His works explore the loss of culture and ritual in our mass produced consumerist society.