Theresa-Anne Mackintosh | I Can Hear a Lull
Solo Exhibition at Kalashnikovv Gallery, Johannesburg
06.04.19 – 23.04.19
Text by Natasha Norman
On first inspection, there is a comforting graphic narrative to Mackintosh’s works that belies a mysterious disruption in the treatment of forms and surface. This disconcerting push/pull is in fact the Ariadne-an thread at the heart of Mackintosh’s work where the vulnerable recording of painterly gesture and line-interrupted invite a pertinent insight to the precarious inner world of human subjectivity.
Mackintosh received her MA (Fine Arts) degree from the University of Pretoria in 1995 in which she majored in painting.She works across a variety of media from sculpture to animation, drawing and photography. She has exhibited extensively in South Africa and attended a three-month working residency programme at the European Ceramic Work Centre (Netherlands) in 2008. The work for ‘I Can Hear A Lull‘ is focused on her intuitive response to the particular intimacy of painting and drawing where both the cerebral and visceral act of the artist is able to exist in the medium as a stain of process. The paintings draw on a rich referential language of both her experience of working in other media and art historical references. She combines formal painting devices with a type of metaphysics of reduced form such that a unique archetypal language concerned with the articulation of the vulnerable ‘self’ becomes discernible across her bodies of work.
In ‘I Can Hear a Lull’ the often brutal and violent dismantling of identity evident in her earlier series is treated with a reflexive and uplifting tenderness. The stripped forms in this series suggest hearts, eyes, mouths and bodily embraces associated with primal life giving aspects of the human body. Touch, intimacy, relationship, vulnerability and strength are themes that suggest a concerted peace with the disrupting nature of relations upon the idealized self (where to be in relation is to risk being hurt.) Scars of loss, hardship and disappointment are embraced in a vulnerable expression of form on the painted surface and returned from injury to wholeness.
The raw, thinly painted quality of a work like Quiet Landscape expresses this vulnerability in the painted surface. Elements of this fragility are punctuated throughout the series in both paint and line, combined with more flatly toned areas of paint in works such as Salmon Smiles and Parrot Stick. Despite this shift, Mackintosh’s Gothic poetry still pervades the underlying nature of the series. Works such as Covered Inside maintain her characteristic disquieting volatility where in the wake of a destructive dismantling of forms the viewer is confronted with a narrative silence.
For Mackintosh, as for Virginia Woolf, what matters is “the unspoken at the edge of the spoken.”  Experience is not always spoken it exists in a latent hazard of both joy and darkness. I Can Hear a Lull is both tender and resilient in its articulation, situating itself in the realm of unspoken truths that lurk in the spaces between events.
Mackintosh’s solo exhibitions in South Africa, include ‘Jackie the Kid’, KZNSA Gallery, KwaZulu Natal, ‘if you say so’, Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg and most recently ‘Menagerie’ and ‘The Young Ones’ at Gallery MOMO also in Johannesburg. In 2018 she was featured on the Johannesburg, Turbine and Cape Town Art Fairs with Kalashnikovv Gallery.
 Virginia Woolf, from a diary entry, dated, 21 July 1912.