16 October - 9 November, 2007
Art First is pleased to present Joni Brenner's second exhibition as an installation of small clay and plasticine sculptures, and oil paintings on wax, marble, slate, wood and canvas, which explore and celebrate the human presence.
Joni's portraits puzzle us in the same way that a line drawing of a woman with a scarf wrapped round her head becomes a rabbit. Now you see it, now you don't...
For if portraiture is always an encounter between artist and sitter, then Joni maintains that relation as always only imminent, never realised. She never seeks to contain a face in a lasting impression but only to affirm its movements and remainders. And when at times a 'sitter's' face does appear, it erupts only as a 'flash' like a fugitive memory and so remains always on the edge of vision. Unclaimable, ungraspable, indeterminate, 'invisible', we are held by these faces but cannot possess them.
Jessica Dubow "Intimacy and Strangeness", from the catalogue Infra Red, published by University of the Witwatersrand, 2002