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Alex Trapani

Northcliff Mellville Times,
Vol 31, No 19, Week Ending 9 May 2003
Derek Davey

ARTISTS Antoinette Murdoch and Alex Trapani, who met and married while studying at Wits Tech nearly 10 years ago, have finally gone ahead and done what their lecturers advised them never to do: exhibit together.

This advice was given as it would "merge their identities" but the exhibition, entitled (out of) Community of Property explores exactly such themes – it questions marriage as an institution, while dealing critically with the latitude and boundaries experienced by women and men who have toed the knot.

"We chose this theme because it is a prevalent issue in our lives," said the pair, who have kept their maiden names for professional reasons.

They live together in Allens Neck with their two children Zoey (4) and Mia (2). Both are predominantly sculptors, and take turns using the home studio and looking after the kids.

Both teach art to make ends meet, Alex is teaching at The King's School in Robin Hills, and Antoinette by pure coincidence, is also teaching at a King's School, in West Rand.

They agree that "having kids disturbs concentration" and "ties you to routines" which can interfere with creativity, but they are learning to find a balance between "sensible" and creative lifestyles.

"If you are too responsible, you kill yourself and your art," said Antoinette, "if you don't pursue your dreams, your kids will sense your lack of fulfilment, which impacts negatively on them and everyone around you."

(out of) Community of Property features the work of another married couple, Jennifer Lovemore-Reed and James Reed, who are married, like Antoinette and Alex, literally out of community of property.

James and Jennifer hail from Simonstown, and the two couples are best pals and "absolutely love" each others’ work.

Art Space in Fairland has four rooms, one for each of the four artists, who all worked to create pieces around the community of property theme.

The women discovered they were expressing themes about what their femininity meant to them, especially within the marriage situation. True to type, the men's pieces explore themes of mathematics, with some mystery thrown in.

The exhibition includes photography, painting, sculpture and installations. Expect major diversity in mediums.

Arts & Leisure, Business Day Times,
20 May, 2003
Ashley Johnson

Out of Community of Property, the exhibition currently on at The Art Space in Melville, features the powerful combination of four artists – two marries couples – whose work reflects on issues within relationships. The ideas of Alex Trapani, Antoinette Murdoch, Jennifer Lovermore-Reed and James Reed merge into a very sophisticated exposition.

Trapani reflects on truth and relativity in a tightly co-ordinated series of digital prints and small oil panels. Objects lose identity to become fluid communicators at an abstract lever. The rims of glasses become ellipses, their red content relating to the absolute of blood and life. His digital prints carry titles like Communal: Give, and the pictorial elements seem to comply. Similarly, his august little paintings (all about 30cm) have a command of visual dynamics that set up a vibration in the viewer. The series of nine paintings called Merge/Emerge explores the ambiguity of being and not being simultaneously. His art, which works at a very cerebral level, is almost philosophically removed from objective reality.

Murdoch, in contrast, is concerned with measurement as a way of containing emotions. The tape measure is her primary metaphor and she uses the heart as a sculptural given, weaving countless tape measures to create surfaces. Huge hearts are strewn across the floor, almost like furniture.

Lovemore_Reed is more visceral. Her subject is her body as an object that communicates the essence of being female. She has some stunning photography in (Submissive) Energumen. Taken at night, her long-exposure images gain the aspect of dusk, shot through with brilliantly coloured foliage and peopled by phantoms.

Reed’s installation, Illume Mythos, uses ephemeral materials like hemp, nivegar and beeswax to concoct a holistic sensory experience. On one wall a square Perspex retainer lit from behind by a blacked out fluorescent tube reveals strange, corroded contents. Long tresses of hemp hang from lines above, connected by copper wire shapes that have wafers of beeswax and honey in their centres. A string quartet soundtrack by Morton Feldman adds sparely to the scene.

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