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Tanya Poole

The Whispering Spring
The Whispering Spring features three groups of ink paintings that the South African artist Tanya Poole made in connection with a visit to the research institute of the Albany Natural History Museum in Makhanda, South Africa. Poole’s virtuoso command of ink on paper allows her to achieve arresting sculptural effects, which, together with the huge format of the treetops and the dynamic insect-picture installation, create an all-enveloping setting. Poole’s insects and bees alternate between sharply detailed renderings and radical abstraction. Close observation allows her to meld anatomical precision with a high degree of artistic freedom. In these days of massive declines in insect populations and rampant destruction of natural habitats, Poole puts a tangible face on the diffuse mass that is otherwise beyond our ken.
She formed the idea for the series in the course of conversations with women scientists at the Albany Natural History Museum, prompting her to bring together three different themes: science, in the renderings of insects; the poetry of nature; and finally the social fabric of the working environment at the research institute. The latter captured her interest when she learned of the difficulties experienced by women researchers in a field where patriarchal structures still prevail.
Once again, Poole has discovered here a broader and quite complex conceptual framework for her individually compelling works. As already seen in her work “Thozama and Rose” she continues to explore settings where different worlds collide and social tensions are keenly felt. The various motifs interweave to form a network of ideas and associations that inspire wonder at the creative forces, magic, and beauty of nature, but also alarm at its fragility.
Helen Barber-James, Freshwater Biologist | Aviwe Matiwane, Palaeobotanist | Khokela Camagu, Fossil Excavator and Preparator, 2018, Kandahar ink on paper, 100 x 125 cm
Mbunge Mbunge, botany student | Alexandra J. Holland, Trichoptera Taxonomist | Zezethu Mnqeta, Botanist, 2018, ink and ground pigment on paper, 125 x 100 cm
Ancient Codes | Mysterious Signals | Summer is a small fortune, 2018, Kandahar ink on Fabriano paper 200 x 150 cm
where everything better is waiting in another place, 2018, ink on paper, 200 x 150 cm
where everything better is waiting in another place, 2018, different orientations, ink on paper, 200 x 150 cm
Ancient Codes , 2018, ink on paper, 200 x 150 cm
Ancient Codes, 2018, different orientations, ink on paper, 200 x 150 cm
The Swarm, 2018, Ink on Paper, series of 163 works each 20,5 x 29,6 cm