THEA SOGGOT

BIOGRAPHY

THEA 8 for website

THEA SOGGOT

(Johannesburg, South Africa)

 

BIOGRAPHY

During her Fine Arts degree at Wits, Thea Soggot had the opportunity to be taught by several well-known artists , notably  Paul Stopforth, Neels Coetzee and Judith Mason. In that time, she was awarded the Henri Lidchi prize for drawing. Soggot held her first exhibition at The Market Gallery in 1981 and, in 1984, had her first solo exhibition at the Goodman Gallery where she continued to exhibit her work over the next fifteen years.

While working as an art director and designer, she began holding art classes at Femma Gavin’s studio, working on commissions, and continuing her art practice. In the early 1990s, she held art classes at the Johannesburg Art Gallery and was on the advisory board of the Market Gallery, headed by David Goldblatt. In 1992, Soggot spent eight months as artist-in-residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. Since then, she has taken up three residencies at the Cité for shorter periods. She started to exhibit her work internationally in 1996, and began her art school, teaching drawing and painting in the same year.


In 2007 she began to exhibit with the Everard Read Gallery, with whom she continues to show.

 

WORK

Excerpt from Robyn Sassen’s text “Engaging the basic elements: Mud and Ink on paper

“The novelist Chaim Potok put the words into the mouth of one of his characters in The Gift of Asher Lev: “…art begins…when someone interprets, when someone sees the world through his own eyes. Art happens when what is seen becomes mixed with the inside of the person who is seeing it.” Soggot’s art draws from within her, and it retains a sense of beauty and accessibility in the conventional sense of the term. It’s about love and physicality, it’s about torsion and complexities, but ultimately, it is work that draws you, as the viewer, in, because of its humanity. Its focus is on the undistorted human form in all its emotive perfection. It engages with the kind of universals you find in Shakespeare’s love sonnets or in the heroic values in ancient Greek sculpture. For all of these reasons, it must touch the realm of truism but remain moored in an understanding of being unfashionable – or perhaps of being fashionable.

Soggot’s work is rendered authentic by virtue of the sheer draughtsmanship that informs it. Like the Venetian painters in Renaissance Italy, she creates her drawings not with line, but with tone: swathes of mud from Retief’s Farm in the Magaliesberg become descriptive of the skin but also, muscles, blood, veins and basically, the soul that animates a given form. These forms are made real with an astute, a guttural tenderness. This is not an oxymoron. The work is irrevocably moving, not for the environmental reasons, or because her medium is difficult to apply, to fix, to work with, but because it is so basic as an element.

Soggots earth paintings bypass the more fashionable socio-political and conceptual genres. Her work harks back to a modernist age, not least of all in its refusal to release easy interpretation. Contemporary interventions frequently provide obvious, if metaphorical, pegs on which the critic is able to hang his/her wordy analyses. Little effort is required to extrapolate from the visual to the verbal. But Soggot prefers to work with visual means alone, leaving the act of translation to her viewers. Soggot says that the body is the key to her art. It is the means by which she explores certain veracities that remain out of reach of conventional discourse.

Soggot’s formal grammar is a spare, terse language deliberately circumscribed by minimal means. She uses a monochromatic palette to indicate the body – only the ochres and reds of the Magaliesberg earth framed by the black pigment of the ground or the white of the paper. That is all. Just the body and space.

Her bodies are often shown as partial forms -only a headless back, or a torso on the white void of the paper, or a head poised on a neck whose arch is achingly beautiful. It is in this very hint of muscular contraction that an empathetic link is created between the image and the viewer.”

 

CV

 

SOLO EXHIBITIONS 

2021       Everard Read, Johannesburg

2011        Everard Read, Johannesburg

2004        Gallery Momo, Johannesburg

1999      Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

1997      Eglise Romane de Mont-St. Martin, Mont St-Martin (France)

1996      Alliance Française, Johannesburg

1995      On-Gallérie, Knokke (Belgium) 

1994      Grange du Faing, Centre d’Art, Jamoigne (Belgium)

              Contemporain du Luxembourg Belge                    

              Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg                         

               South African Association of Arts, Cape Town

1989      Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

1984      Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

 

ART FAIRS

2007-2013       Johannesburg Art Fair

2015-2016       Johannesburg Art Fair

 

 

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2016    Summer Show, CIRCA, London

2007-16 Various group shows, Johannesburg

2011    Horse, Everard Read and CIRCA, Johannesburg

2007      Everard Read, Johannesburg

2006    Gallery Momo, Johannesburg

2005    Gallery Momo, Johannesburg

2003    Gallery Momo, Johannesburg

1996    Galerie Resy Muijsers, Tilburg (Netherlands)

1995    First Gallery, Johannesburg

1994    Market Gallery, Johannesburg

1981    Market Gallery, Johannesburg

1997    Städtische Galerie, Dresden (Germany)

             Bergisch Gladbach (Germany)                               

             Städtische Galerie Villa Zanders

1996    Ferme de Buisson, Marne la Vallée (France)

1995    Museum Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerpen (Belgium)

1994    Institut Français, Bremen (Germany)

 

 

COLLECTIONS

Private, local and international

Constitutional Court, South Africa

Alliance Française, South Africa

Anglo American, South Africa