Kings and Totems for Dolly, Sculpture and Prints
I am a lucky man because I was taught as a student by the likes of the Post Painterly Abstractionist Patrick Heron, the British Cubist Keith Vaughan, and the Master Etcher Norman Ackroyd. Although I have maintained printmaking, I became from the mid nineties forward, a sculptor. However, the colour filed painting of Heron has continued to find its way into my work as can be seen by the Totem to Dolly and the Three Kings, whilst the very act of cutting into form through cubism, continues to haunt me with its history.
Since 2000 I have been working with young South African artists and despite me being a “foreigner” they have been exhibiting me as an important influence on their work, which is for me praise of a very humbling nature, and even though I was at one time Education Officer for the Peacock Printmakers, I prefer to print in South Africa; despite the continuing societal problems of a post Apartheid world, and the devastation of HIV – which can be tracked in Venus Nevirapine (an HIV inhibitor drug), and the use of the print image “Three Dancers” as an AIDS Awareness billboard from approx 2003 to 2006 – there is an energy which I find invigorating. Meanwhile, the wheel in Wheel Cross comes from a bicycle the rest of which is built into a work held by the City of Durban art gallery and although like the Kings, the Wheel Cross marks religious overtones, they are in fact more concerned with historical cultural totems, which can be both personal and abstract; such as (in 1974) helping Richard Hamilton get one of the six edition Duchamp bicycle wheels across London, or etching from drawings made of my wife in 1984 in Durban in 2013, which had a print workshop naming them as “The Durban Madonna.” Or reading that in the 10th century there was a battle in north east Scotland in which three kings died and few know about it; or marking the sheep as a culturally influenced exercise through the science of cloning.
A DVD catalogue of the work of Alex Flett is available in the Summerhall shop.