The concern about figurative painting in relation with the search of the self is that it has been a constant motive in the works of Spanish painter and filmmaker Manolo Belzunce and multidisciplinary South African artist Kagiso Pat Mautloa. Both artists, with their unequivocal styles and prolific careers which has spanned almost four decades, explore on their respective body of work the nature of the self, the process of drawing, the naked body and their own symbology.
In the words of Arnau Puig, Manolo Belzunce “catches the emotion in substrata messages, and immediately, those worthless cast-offs acquire identity and essence, because it is he, Belzunce, who transform apparent insignificance and gives everything a significance, firstly painted, and soon after, with new feeling… rescuing from the bitterness of cultural experience, the shapeless painted forms which others, sensitive to colour or towards, experimented with… (resurrecting) a now-disused real image (he) brings it back to fulfil the intended art plan for which it was design, just like that most incorruptible cubist of the highest integrity, Juan Gris.”
As Andries Walter Oliphant said about Mautloa‘s work “Strolling through Mautloa’s work it becomes clear that it is the product of a complex artistic approach to the language in which he lives. It consists of a visual language in which the tactility of objects is harnessed by a keen painterly imagination. Executed with great care to register both ethical and aesthetic concerns, the fabric of urban life in South Africa is represented, interpreted and explored in graphics, paintings, collages, assemblages and installations. A rigorous localisation, which is conceptually distilled and visually encrypted, operates here. Firmly rooted in time and place, it articulates both the durable and changing quality of things.