Collection: Gabrielle Raaff

Gabrielle Raaff (b.1970) lives and works in Lakeside, Cape Town. Raaff's works begin with a photographic image, and while this image serves as a jumping-off point only, we are repeatedly brought back to the photographic process. The medium of photography, and its ability to fix an image is what piques her interest. The artist works with ethereality. She uses the media of ink, water-colour and water-based oil as a vehicle for alluding to the form, the function and the emotion of her subject. Landscape and its reference both to actual place and places of the subconscious are what can be found lurking in her paintings. Raaff's most notable earlier works in water-colour and ink capturing beach and city figures and aerial Google satellite images of distinctly different South African neighbourhoods, rely on a cool relationship between herself and the subject and revel in the abstract qualities of the view. ‘My most recent works are a continuation of my interest in photography as a means of fixing an image and using found imagery as a starting point for my paintings. The imagery that piques my interest is mostly sourced from local newspapers and has allowed me to investigate the juxtaposition of the shocking and banal realities of a suburban neighbourhood and to explore how two realities can exist in a single experience. I consider my personal act of painting to be a wrestling between intention and chance and an undoing of certainty. Working with the material properties of diluted ink and water-colour, of painting wet into wet and of oil resisting water, determine the means by which a new image is created. The original photograph is extended, like the sound that manifests an echo, such that a new and multi-layered embodiment of experience or place can be expressed.’