Ultimately, André Naudé’s manipulation of his medium and material enables a world at once familiar and ambiguous, ordered and disrupted. The very substance of paint, of marks on the surface, references not only Naudé’s engagement with the world, but the skill, commitment and judgment one senses have been honed over years: a particular, intimate connection between the artist’s hand and head – a tactile and tacit knowledge of subject and medium that is imbedded in the work. His is a dialogue between practice and thinking that is layered not only in terms of technical virtuosity, but layered in terms of meaning and subtle references/links that viewers might make when looking at his work.
However, while Naudé’s work might be read partly as a commentary on life’s absurdities and ironies (displayed more than ever in this extraordinary year), this is not an artist setting out in the first place to dictate meaning. His work is seductive in the way that it ‘entices’ meaning. From smaller works of pure abstraction with a lightness and economy of brushstrokes to the layered complexity of works in which familiar motifs recur, Naude’s work is a life recast in paint. The surface is the primary site, in the very gesture and substance of paint, where meaning is first and foremost generated and where it resides. It is a flirtation with paint that comes across in a life lived with and through his art. And it is, ironically, not beige.
– Karen Preller
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