Missing Parts in a Dream

Misheck Masamvu
Missing Parts in a Dream, 2020
Oil on canvas
Work: 160 x 135 cm

In Misheck Masamvu’s painting Missing Parts in a Dream the artist uses painting and mark making as a way in which to track his thoughts and emotions. Using abstraction, Masamvu creates an imagined landscape which acts as a physical manifestation of his state of mind and his subconscious. For Masamvu, the painting allows him to “occupy a space without defining what it is”. As the title suggests, the painting is by no means a comprehensive and organised mapping, rather it exists as a struggle to remember the ephemeral realm of dreams and memories. Misheck Masamvu uses painting as a way to explore structures of power and how history comes to bear on the contemporary moment. Oscillating between abstraction and figuration, Masamvu’s works allow him to address the past while searching for a way of being in the world. His layered painted surfaces and brush strokes, which are almost visceral, exist as remnants of the physical act of painting and give the sense that multiple temporalities have been included in one picture plane. Beneath the surface of one painted image, an infinity of others exist. Masamvu’s work often depicts figures in nature. Through abstraction, Masamvu’s figures appear in the midst of metamorphosis, absorbed by teeming landscapes which become metaphors for how we might throw off the shackles of history and adapt to a new way of interacting with the world.