Oct 12 – Oct 31, 2020

It is with profound pleasure that Everard Read Johannesburg presents a collection of recent sculptures by Nic Bladen.  This group of bronzes focusses primarily on a few of the myriad forms of succulent plants that have adapted to the arid climate that holds sway over much of South Africa.  Succulents have evolved in response to the paucity of water by employing a fascinating and diverse array of adaptations that allow them to thrive and reproduce in extraordinarily harsh habitats.  Phenomenal camouflages, moisture storage organs, virulent poison, masses of thorns and thick cuticles to inhibit water loss are utilized often in combination by many families of succulents.  Plants in our subcontinent have responded so successfully to environmental strictures that South Africa can boast very nearly half of the worlds known succulent plant species.  We are indeed at the epicentre of global succulent plant diversity.

Nic Bladen has become the worlds most renowned contemporary sculptor celebrating the miracle of plant life.  His bronzes are not merely fabulously accurate casts that exhibit an astonishing commitment to delicacy and detail.  They are also mesmerizing due to the intensity of his art which uniquely I believe interrogates the very essence of each plant that captures his attention.  Anyone who has gazed in wonder at the enduring physical structure of a plant or its delightful ephemeral flower will find the art of Nic Bladen astonishing.  It is no surprise therefore that his sculpture is sought after internationally.  Obviously in 2020 it is likely that many of Bladens collectors will not be able to view this small exhibition in reality.  Everard Read hopes that this catalogue will prove to be a reasonable substitute.


Mark Read