Walter Oltmann / Penumbra / 2013

Walter Oltmann / Penumbra / 2013
20 June - 22 July 2013
Installation View
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 20, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 11, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Child skull II, 2012
Letterpress print
Work: 44.5 x 24.5 cm Frame: 55 x 48.5 x 3.5 cm
Walter Oltmann
Explorer suit VII, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
44 x 35.7cm
Walter Oltmann
Child skull III, 2012
Letterpress print
55 x 48.5cm
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 21, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 12, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Bathys, 2013
Acrylic and ink on canvas
61 x 137 cm
Walter Oltmann
Womb, 2013
Ink on paper
55 x 71.5cm
Walter Oltmann
Mother and child III, 2012
Aluminium wire
190 x 280cm
Walter Oltmann
Bleeder, 2013
Etching
92.5 x 66cm
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 22, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 1, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 23, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Explorer suit VIII, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
44 x 35.7cm
Walter Oltmann
Child Skull, 2013
Aluminium wire
180 x 172cm
Walter Oltmann
Specimen, 2013
Ink, bleach and oil on paper
50 x 89cm
Walter Oltmann
Swarm, 2013
Ink and ferric chloride on paper
71.5 x 53.5cm
Walter Oltmann
Infant, 2012
Letterpress print
48.5 x 55cm
Walter Oltmann
Penumbra, 2012
Aluminium wire
115 x 117 cm
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 13, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Remains, 2013
Ink and bleach on paper
56 x 76 cm
Walter Oltmann
Chafers, 2012
Lithograph
71 x 89cm
Walter Oltmann
Gombessa (Coelacanth), 2013
Aluminium wire
270 x 405 cm
Walter Oltmann
Child (Head), 2013
Ink, bleach and watercolour
31.5 x 27.5cm
Walter Oltmann
Gombessa / Coelacanth, 2012
Acrylic on canvas, 3 panels adjoining
152 x 304 cm (triptych)
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 2, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 24, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Residuum, 2013
Aluminium wire
161 x 176cm
Walter Oltmann
Hominid Skull, 2013
water colour, ink and shellac on paper
23 x 23cm
Walter Oltmann
Explorer suit I, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
44 x 35.7cm
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 3, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 14, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Child, 2011
linocut
Image: 86 x 179 cm Work: 106 x 195 cm Frame: 123 x 213 x 7 cm
Walter Oltmann
Moth I, 2013
Aluminium wire
54 x 47 cm
Walter Oltmann
Collected I, 2012
Colour lithographs / Seven-color chine collé lithograph
71 x 61.5cm / paper: 60 x 51 cm; image: 44.5 x 38.5 cm
Walter Oltmann
Explorer suit II, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
44 x 35.7cm
Walter Oltmann
Panoply I, II, III, 2013
Ink, bleach, crayon on paper
110 x 75cm each 128.5 x 94cm (framed) each
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 4, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 15, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 5, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Coelacanth, 2010
Linocut print on paper
105 x 210 cm
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 16, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Explorer suit III, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
44 x 35.7cm
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 6, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Coverlet, 2013
White crayon on black paper
90 x 126.5cm
Walter Oltmann
Explorer 1, 2013
Aluminium wire
125 x 65 x 30 cm
Walter Oltmann
Spread, 2013
Aluminium wire
210 x 210 cm
Walter Oltmann
Child (Sleeping), 2013
Oil, ink, pencil and crayon
53.5 x 70.5cm
Walter Oltmann
Infant, 2012
Acrylic and ink on canvas
30 x 40 cm
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 7, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 17, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Explorer suit IV, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
44 x 35.7cm
Walter Oltmann
Collected II, 2012
colour lithograph
71 x 61.5cm
Walter Oltmann
Skull, 2013
Ink and bleach on paper
41.5 x 54cm
Walter Oltmann
Amber, 2013
Watercoloyr
43.5 x 57cm
Walter Oltmann
Infant, 2012
Pen and ink on paper
49 x 67.5 cm
Walter Oltmann
Child Skull I, 2012
Letterpress print
55 x 48.5cm
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 18, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Child, 2013
Aluminium wire
148 x 215cm
Walter Oltmann
Infant, 2013
Aluminium wire
Work: 170 x 172 cm
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 8, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Explorer suit V, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
44 x 35.7cm
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 9, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 19, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm
Walter Oltmann
Sleeping Child, 2013
Aluminium wire
90 x 84cm
Walter Oltmann
Skulls (Mother and Child), 2013
Ink, bleach and charcoal on paper
80 x 65.5cm
Walter Oltmann
Lace, 2012
Relief etching
41.5 x 29 cm (Image size) 78.5 x 54 cm (paper size)
Walter Oltmann
Explorer suit VI, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
44 x 35.7cm
Walter Oltmann
Pod Suit 10, 2013
Ink, bleach and water colour
23 x 19cm

Walter Oltmann / Penumbra / 2013 - Installation View

20 June - 22 July 2013

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 20

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 11

Walter Oltmann

Child skull II

Walter Oltmann

Explorer suit VII

Walter Oltmann

Child skull III

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 21

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 12

Walter Oltmann

Bathys

Walter Oltmann

Womb

Walter Oltmann

Mother and child III

Walter Oltmann

Bleeder

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 22

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 1

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 23

Walter Oltmann

Explorer suit VIII

Walter Oltmann

Child Skull

Walter Oltmann

Specimen

Walter Oltmann

Swarm

Walter Oltmann

Infant

Walter Oltmann

Penumbra

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 13

Walter Oltmann

Remains

Walter Oltmann

Chafers

Walter Oltmann

Gombessa (Coelacanth)

Walter Oltmann

Child (Head)

Walter Oltmann

Gombessa / Coelacanth

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 2

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 24

Walter Oltmann

Residuum

Walter Oltmann

Hominid Skull

Walter Oltmann

Explorer suit I

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 3

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 14

Walter Oltmann

Child

Walter Oltmann

Moth I

Walter Oltmann

Collected I

Walter Oltmann

Explorer suit II

Walter Oltmann

Panoply I, II, III

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 4

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 15

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 5

Walter Oltmann

Coelacanth

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 16

Walter Oltmann

Explorer suit III

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 6

Walter Oltmann

Coverlet

Walter Oltmann

Explorer 1

Walter Oltmann

Spread

Walter Oltmann

Child (Sleeping)

Walter Oltmann

Infant

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 7

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 17

Walter Oltmann

Explorer suit IV

Walter Oltmann

Collected II

Walter Oltmann

Skull

Walter Oltmann

Amber

Walter Oltmann

Infant

Walter Oltmann

Child Skull I

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 18

Walter Oltmann

Child

Walter Oltmann

Infant

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 8

Walter Oltmann

Explorer suit V

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 9

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 19

Walter Oltmann

Sleeping Child

Walter Oltmann

Skulls (Mother and Child)

Walter Oltmann

Lace

Walter Oltmann

Explorer suit VI

Walter Oltmann

Pod Suit 10

Wire is Walter Oltmann’s main medium for making sculptural works and he manipulates it in a way that emphasises hand-made process, using the linear quality of wire to create forms and surfaces through techniques that parallel handcrafts. His new works – created for his solo exhibition Penumbra at Goodman Gallery Johannesburg – explore interconnections between drawing and sculpture and consist mainly of wire wall hangings that resemble overblown lace or crochet work.

Using mostly a thin (1mm diameter) aluminium wire, these net-like works are made by layering and stitching together sections of weave to create a form of three-dimensional tonal drawing. The resulting wall hangings declare their presence through scale and surface texture but often look delicate and at times even insubstantial. “I have made connections to domestic textile practices in previous artworks and continue to explore such forms of making in these works in evoking fragility and the passage of time,” explains Oltmann. “My work thus carries a very definite textile sensibility and I am interested in making connections between decorative ornament and subject matter that seems somewhat contradictory or disturbing in relation to such handcrafted embellishment.”

The works forming part of Penumbra explore archeological images (skulls and skeletons) that Oltmann frequently draws on, engaging with the notion of deep time, such as geological time, change and evolution. Oltmann also more specifically returns to the theme of “mother and child”. His pairing of an adult skull with that of a child’s counters the expected sentiment and underscores the tragic loss of the tender bond between mother and child. What is usually presented as a nurturing and serene scene becomes a disturbing testament to catastrophe. He furthermore explores the image of the sleeping child, another common image used by artists to depict the innocence and serenity associated with sleep, but it has also frequently been used to evoke death or to suggest death as a form of sleep.

The show also presents an extension of Oltmann’s coelacanth images. “I am intrigued by the mythology surrounding the coelacanth as a ‘hybrid’ creature that has been claimed to represent an evolutionary transitional state between fish and land animal (the common title of ‘old four legs’ points to this adaptation of legs developed from fins),” says Oltmann. In other works Oltmann continues his previous exploration of the interface between human and insect, notably beetles and moths. The empty suits and armour, as stand in for the human body, often reference exoskeletal forms of insects and suggest processes of transformation (malting via metamorphosis).

Finally, in the namesake work of the show, Penumbra, Oltmann presents an interpretation of a photographic image of a rocky landscape. It is in fact taken from a documentation of a rock-engraving site. “I wanted to interpret a scene that would carry a sense of deep time and distance – a forlorn place that looks untouched and uninhabitable,” explains Oltmann. “The circular format may recall the view through a telescope, further underlining the notion of distance.”

Walter Oltmann

Born in 1960 in Rustenburg, Gauteng, South Africa, Walter Oltmann’s main area of focus is sculpture, and more particularly in fabricating woven wire forms, which sometimes reference local craft traditions. He has researched and written on the use of wire in African material culture in this region and is deeply interested in the influence of these traditions in contemporary South African art. He has had numerous solo exhibitions with the Goodman Gallery, and has created several large-scale commissions for venues such as the Zeitz Sculpture Garden in Segera, Kenya.