Diane Victor: Ashes to Ashes
Like Goya and Hogarth before her, South African artist Diane Victor is an artist-moralist who has used her virtuosic technical skills to expose the vices of violence, oppression and greed that have caused so much human suffering in pre- and post-apartheid South Africa. However, in her recent Transcend and the Lost Words series (2010-2011), representations of moral failings have transmogrified into the frailties of the flesh. Victor’s recent fragile drawings in book ash and charcoal dust refer, in her words, to the “ephemeral and transient aspects of human mortality.” The two series ask the viewer to question how death erases not only an individual life, but also a swath of cultural history. In this way, these specters bear witness to changes in South African society generally, and offer strong parallels with American culture as well.