Jasmine Kamante and Jesper Sundwall, ECDYSIS - by Amy Stewart
Jasmine Kamante and Jesper Sundwall are creative cohorts but they are also life partners, and together they form a succinct microcosm of the act of painting. In these recent works, both are learning (and teaching each other) the empowerment that comes from breaking down walls, exploding colours and blurring lines.
Kamante and Sundwall complement each other, though they are not the most likely of pairs. She is a resident of the world, a refugee from her own family who forbade her to draw the forms that so naturally sprung from her fingers. She has been born again from that dark place into a world of her own making – a world of colour, light and openness. He is a visionary of the ordinary – a master of the still life who nobly applies his extraordinary powers of perception to the aesthetically neglected detritus of civilisation.
The duo fully exploit the access they have to an articulate and perceptive other half, a luxury which makes their relationship itself a study in artistic potential and courage. They guide each other through the unmaking and remaking that comes with the shedding of skin, a process, ecdysis, that lends its name to this joint exhibition. While Kamante is on a passage of biotic colour, Sundwall defies the anti-aesthetic essence of unconventional still-life subjects. Both are classically trained, but both also possess an idiosyncratic mastery of their media that allows them to turn it inside out.
With this new series, Sundwall has taken a few steps sideways, boldly daring to break the strict prescribed blueprints of traditional still life by gradually removing the formal scaffolding from his paintings. The conventional table surface has evaporated and plastic bags star in this series, sometimes whole and sometimes dissected – Sundwall’s voyage of departure extends to the dismantling of the subject itself. His treatment is not romanticising plastic bags, but rather demonstrating that the same classical principles can be applied anywhere. This egalitarian approach affords the bags a certain glamour, like the folds in the silk of an opulent gown.
In her own prolific and varied practice, Kamante bends her intense restless spirit into a colourful choreography, referencing her Persian heritage as well as her current surroundings in the titles. In both her figurative and completely abstract work, she uses veils of colour to animate. Kamante’s development has seen her grasp her canvases differently, literally, as she physically manipulates her surfaces, sometimes allowing her paint to find its own way within the plane, and at others persuading it this way and that before taking matters firmly back into her own two hands. It is in this precariousness that she finds the unsteady but precious balance of light and dark, which, in turn illustrates the story of her life.
With each of their new series, the pair affirms the internal origins of their work – how life experience manifests intuitively through hand and brush. Both are in possession of a marvellous introspection and, following a journey that took them far afield physically and emotionally, they allow the world to gaze upon them as two confidently separate but intimately entwined painters as they, together, progress to a new painterly paradigm that sees them continually pushing boundaries.