Now Showing – Johann Louw

AVA Alumni #001 – 18 February – 2 March 2017

The AVA Alumni exhibitions, launching with artist Johann Louw on February 18, rekindles relationships the gallery has built with artists who have grown tremendously since their first encounter with the public via the AVA’s walls.


Johann Louw | Selfportret met Stoel | 2010 | Oil on Panel | 122 X 240cm

Louw’s solo debut into the art world was at the AVA in 1996, with a follow-up in 1998. ‘AVA Alumni: Johann Louw’ is an exhibition showcasing this artist’s work over the years as he has progressed in charcoal, oil paint, etching needle or cement and bronze. Louw’s work “tends to beguile his first-time audience with his subject matter”, say reviewers.

Art critics in recent reviews offer that Louw’s work “depict both lack and excess” while “stripping away of superfluity to expose our raw and hellish existence”.

“Not sure whether his landscapes look familiar or foreign. Dogs and dresses oscillate between 17th century genre painting and contemporary cinema, between the romantic and the abject,” say critics.

AVA director Mirjam Asmal says this not-for-profit and public benefit gallery has shown confidence in a number of artists who had their first solo exhibition with it and who then progressed on to achieve success elsewhere.

Johann Louw | Selfportret met Stoel | 2010 | Oil on Panel | 122 X 240cm

Johann Louw | Selfportret met Stoel | 2010 | Oil on Panel | 122 X 240cm

“The AVA Alumni series underlines that so many of today’s successful artists had their first solo show at the gallery. Many of them are happy to return to showcase their works now recognised in the local and international arts scene,” says Asmal.

“This series of exhibitions will be a selection of established artists who will have the opportunity to showcase the history of their practice and their progression since originally showing with the AVA.”

Asmal adds: “This is part of our medium-term strategy to position the AVA as an established and ever-relevant institution serving the arts industry in broad terms.

“The series re-affirms the AVA as a neutral space, caring and catering for the visual arts industry in broad terms, and often in partnership with other galleries and arts institutions.

“This includes partnerships with more recent commercial galleries, with artists, our residency programme and with a variety of arts institutions such as the Market Theatre Photo Lab, Strauss & Co, Yellowwoods and PPC Imaginarium.”