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'_REALITY CHECK_': Janet Ranson at AVA Gallery, Cape Town

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Held at the AVA Gallery in Cape Town, Janet Ranson's current exhibition, '_REALITY CHECK_' provides a sensory and intimate portrait of the artist's relation to the world-at-large. "Rescued natural debris, from South Africa's Karoo shrubs to Korean seaweed, are returned to the Long Gallery at the AVA as objects of interest, beauty and complexity," writes Cape Town-based artist Rose Gelderblom-Waddilove.

AA Newsletter July14 Ranson1Janet Ranson, Perfection, 2016. Acrylic on canvas, found natural material, torch, 40 x 30 x 8cm. Photo: Alex Kaczmarek. All images courtesy of the artist.

Winter in Cape Town is an ideal time to view Janet Ranson’s latest solo exhibition '_REALITY CHECK_,' currently showing in the Long Gallery of the AVA, Cape Town.

Departing from Ranson’s recent nature art residency in South Korea, '_REALITY CHECK _' transports the viewer into a rainy forest, where tall trees reach high above. The skyline is lost, and small areas of light manage to break through the uppermost branches.

AA Newsletter July14 Ranson4Janet Ranson, still from Drift Away, 2016. Video installation.

The artist has taken great care and patience in an attempt to unify her attitudes towards art and nature, and the fine line she treads on the earth. Ranson’s language in paint is layered and multi-faceted, satisfying every sensory experience in this exhibition. From interactive artworks where the viewer creates images using the beam of torch, to paintings layered with so many marks that the physical sensation of running ones hands across the surface is as satisfying as the visual depth.

AA Newsletter July14 Ranson3Janet Ranson, Nature's Eye, 2016. Installation view. Optical glass and natural materials, 2.5 x 2 x 2m (variable). Photo: Alex Kaczmarek.

 '_REALITY CHECK _' blurs the line between art and sensation. Based on Ranson’s acknowledgement of her intimate relationship with the environment around her, '_REALITY CHECK _' links the gallery space to the natural world. Rescued natural debris, from South Africa's Karoo shrubs to Korean seaweed, are returned to the Long Gallery at the AVA as objects of interest, beauty and complexity. Ranson surrenders control over the elements, allowing the found objects to age and change according to their inherent cycles.

AA Newsletter July14 Ranson2Janet Ranson, detail of Round the Bend, 2016. Acrylic and resin on canvas, 90 x 120cm. Photo: Alex Kaczmarek

'_REALITY CHECK_' naturally marries man-made and organic materials in a fine art space. Ranson offers an opportunity for re-connection with the environment and reflection on the balancing act with which she navigates humanity's effect on the earth, drawing attention to the cycles that link humans and nature. The exhibition is immediate, sensory, and speaks beyond image and symbol. Ranson has transformed the gallery space into a truly interactive exhibition that is exciting, kind, and engaging, whilst paying homage to the landscapes that have shaped this body of work.

Rose Gelderblom-Waddilove is an artist and writer based in Cape Town, South Africa.

'_REALITY CHECK_' will be on show at the AVA Gallery, Cape Town until 16th July 2016.

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