Grove Square Galleries is pleased to announce The Whispering Tongues (24 June – 6 August 2021), the forthcoming solo exhibition by Zimbabwean artist Marc Standing. Created during his return to Africa in early 2021, this new series of mixed media paintings marks a homecoming for the artist, celebrating and reconnecting with the heritage and culture of his native continent. Through his uniquely abstract fusion of texture, layer and colour, Standing’s latest body of work is enriched by the magic and mythology of his motherland, and illuminated by recurring themes of identity, self-discovery and personal expression.
Working organically and subconsciously, Standing’s painting begins through an intuitive process of dye washes and mark-making. Drawing on elements of surrealism, abstraction and collage, as well as more figurative motifs, he allows himself to be guided by the painting itself - a method he describes as almost Shamanic. The result is a complex and often invisible building of layers and influences, like a manifestation of the artist’s own expression of self: as a white African born to a Jewish mother, his work reveals a rich and multifaceted perspective, informed by his homosexual identity and his extensive travels across the world (including China, Mexico, Philippines, Maldives).
"I began working on this body of work, The Whispering Tongues, in Kenya, in the land of the Masai, amongst warthogs and bougainvillea. It was my out of Africa experience, the return of the diaspora child to the motherland. It was profound, insightful, and inspiring. There was a freedom, spontaneity, and looseness to the paintings, a gorging of excitable impulses, a harking back to rudimentary mark-making, the marks of our ancestors in the cradle of civilisation. This body of work is a homage to my Africa, my home, as an African. If all the leaves on all the trees had tongues, hear them whisper as they divulge their secrets." - Marc Standing