ARIA : Catherine Ocholla

ARIA | an exhibition by Catherine Ocholla

Opening 7th August @6pm till 23rd August @2pm
61 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town.
Gallery hours: 10-5 weekdays, 10-2 Saturdays.

Artwork will be available to purchase online from the 7th of August.
The term ‘aria’ is synonymous with a solo vocal performance, usually in the context of opera. What is little known is that ‘aria’ means ‘air’ in Italian, and is derived from the Greek and Latin ‘aer’ meaning ‘atmosphere’.

In this series of oil paintings Catherine Ocholla has drawn inspiration from different arias. Turning her gaze upwards she has captured a detailed representation of the dramas playing out in the sky. Ocholla acknowledges the influence of Turner, the ‘master of light’, with his ability to capture and freeze-frame drama and emotion in his landscapes. In ‘ARIA’, Ocholla attempts to pen down her own ‘grand opera’, only this time through ‘air’, attaching interesting anecdotes to describe how some of her paintings were assigned their arias.

As a child Ocholla watched a VHS recording of the The Magic Flute with English subtitles, and found the narrative to be both frightening and fascinating. Memories of this early encounter led to her works Dies Bildnis Ist Bezaubernd Schön (‘this image is enchantingly lovely’) and Der Hölle Rache Kocht In Meinem Herzen (‘hells vengeance boils in my heart’). In contrast, there is Amor Ti Vieta (love forbids you), which featured in the movie, To Rome with Love by Woody Allen. In the film, there is a man (played by Fabio Armiliato) who had a beautiful voice, but who could only sing when in the shower. To overcome this obstacle, the director (played by Woody Allen) rolls a shower on stage, and the man performs Amor Ti Vieta while having a shower. This particular narrative to the famous aria struck a chord with the artist, and her work titled Amor Ti Vieta has duel significance in terms of both the aria and the context in which the aria was ‘discovered’.

The relationship between the works and the arias is very much about landscape; the ideal backdrop to these dramas and the stage on which they should play out.

This is the artist’s latest exhibition following 'Nothing New Under The Sun' (2012) at the AVA Gallery and 'Wisecracks' (2010) at Blank Projects.