22 june – 18 july 2017

Fried Contemporary is pleased to present an exhibition by Diane Hyslop in Room 1, opening Thursday 22 June from 6pm-8pm.


Old is the new gorgeous

Diana Hyslop’s exhibition Old is the new gorgeous pictures the passage of time in a woman’s life in remarkable and unpredictable ways. Hyslop is known for her methodical interpretation of human experience, exploring totems individuals have adopted that represent uncontrollable instincts or fears.

Her new exhibition works with, and against, the familiar and is concerned with a basic contradiction: how does the artist picture invisibility? The popular culture’s denial of the positive attributes of maturity has led Hyslop to paint her subjects as featureless but dynamic figures adrift in a universe of personal symbols.

The theme of the work arose after a discussion between friends about the words associated with the process of getting old. While the arrival at adulthood should bring with it the ability to embrace change, it is expected that the journey to old age will be one of dread and fear.

Hyslop’s blank human forms are rendered in glossy enamel and their reflectiveness seems to echo the major work on display. A large neon in blue spells out the title of the show, ‘old is the new gorgeous’, like a slogan in an imaginary advertising campaign. This implies a tension between the fantasy of popular culture and the reality that women, particularly, encounter as they advance in years. Being old is hardly perceived as a subject for neon lights.

Using light as a positive metaphor implies that the artist is dominating the narrative about the ravages of time. The glow of neon, the floating figures in blue, as well as smaller works elegantly magnifying the minutiae of the aging experience, indicate that Hyslop has used the decorativeness of femininity to comment on something pressing and real.

Diana Hyslop lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In her mid twenties she worked for Marvel Comics in London. On her return to South Africa Hyslop joined the film industry working on feature and documentary films. In the late eighties she studied painting at Bill Ainslie’s now legendary Johannesburg Art Foundation.

In the nineties she spent a year at the Santa Monica Fine Arts Studios in California before returning to Johannesburg where she spent time between filming and painting.

It was in 1998 that Hyslop committed to full time painting after having her first solo show at the AVA Gallery in Cape Town.

In 2002 she joined the Fordsburg Artists Studios (aka the Bag Factory Studios) as a permanent tenant artist.

Hyslop has exhibited locally and abroad, and has her work in numerous collections in South Africa and has participated in international art workshops in Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa and Uruguay.Largely informed by comics and film, Hyslop’s work explores magical realism and a universe of possibilities in which unexpected combinations are viable, all co-exist, and where everything can happen at once. She is interested in the duality of existence, a solitary/social phenomenon though which an eminent encounter can sometimes determine our pathways. And go beyond it.