Opening in early 2017 at 99 Loop are the latest solo exhibitions by two rising stars of the South African art scene: Adriaan Diedericks & Chris Valentine.

These distinct bodies of work both draw on the techniques of classical media and the skills of past masters, but with undeniably contemporary refinement.

In ‘Christened Ships’, Diedericks explores Classical, African and European mythology, incorporating imagery that hints at how the past haunts present consciousness. We can connect visual threads of themes that the young artist has been exploring since his first solo exhibition in 2015, which he here refines, combining the focus and skill that have made the name Diedericks recognisable. Theseus, St Sebastian, Adamastor and other myths are all explored through elements of the sculptures, with the central imagery focusing on journeys, colonisation, violence, progress and identity – all subjects that speak to the problematic nature of power.

Valentine’s ‘B L I S S’ has its roots in portraiture and a fascination with the features of the human face. Using a painterly alla prima approach, Valentine (who has over 15,000 followers on Instagram) seeks to represent both the visceral and digital qualities of contemporary urban life, taking inspiration from the brushwork of Velazquez and Sargent as well as the mark making and abstract elements of more contemporary painting. His aim is to anchor each work in reality, encouraging the viewer to question the world around them. Valentine’s combination of realistic brushwork and ethereal abstract marks gives each piece a surreal and dreamy quality, a dream only partially remembered.

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