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On the Shoulders of Giants - a solo exhibition by Chonat Getz

Posted on November 28, 2014.

Chonat Getz, Tetradron, Icosahedron, Hexaedron, Bulleye glass casting (8cm x 8cm x 8cm)

"With mathematics as a tool, we can explore and verify facts, and uncover new universal truths." Humans have attempted to map our existence since the earliest endevours to count the world around us using etched notches on a stick using basic mathematics. Chonat Getz's latest exhibition, On the Shoulders of Giants, a solo exhibition at Knysna Fine Art, explores the ability of mathematics to smash the "sublunary shackles that bind us to the mundane and we have peered through time and space at the great transcendent truths that underpin the universe".

A former Mathematics lecturer at the University of the Witswatersrand, Chonat Getz has helped to create a popular interest and involvement in mathematics by elucidating the nexus between mathematics and traditional African craft objects. In 2004, Chonat studied art at UNISA and was awarded first prize in the tertiary section of the Waste Art competition. In 2007, she joined the Blue Door Print Studio group run by Collin Cole. During the course of 2007 and 2008, Chonat attended several glass courses given by international glass artists inlcuding a course in slumping and fusing given by Frank van den Ham at Ngwenya gall, a kilncast glass course given by Colin Reid in England and a glass sand casting course given by Paul Marioni, also in England. She states that as a mathematician, she appreciate the constituent elements of art and her works aim to capture the beauty of mathematics.

The exhibition features kiln-formed glass sculptures and prints. She prefers the use of glass due to its glorious elemental contradiction through its ability to be both brittle and malleable. The process in which glass sculpture is moulded into existence is distinctively scientific in nature. Altering any one of the constituent parts of the basic compound can significantly enhance or diminish the quality and clarity of the glass - as can adjustments in temperature during the firing process. Working with glass is inherently experiemental, particularly the process of glass casting. Although the glass is encased in a rigid mould, the hot liquid has a freedom of movement that can result in unexpected results.

Chonat Getz, Myth, Math, Melancholy, Etching (detail)

Chonat's 'paper' work largely consists of hard ground etching, dry point, and relief printing where the themes of scientific discovery and progress again predominate in these works, which are also experiemental pieces that play with established norms and conventions to create new universes of thought and expression.

On the Shoulders of Giants opens at the Knysna Fine Art in December 2014 and represents an unorthodox journey that traverses the interrelated worlds of science and art. The works in the collection have been designed to represent the immense beauty of scientific discovery inspired by celestrial mechanics, the sublimity of geometric form and the colour spectrum.

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