Pauline Gutter’s new series of paintings, drawings and graphic works are each self-portraits of the artist’s own hands. Her hands are first photographed by the photographer Frikkie Kap in specific positions and then Gutter starts to develop the image. Often while working, she will also relook at her hands for details or qualities that may be missing from the original photograph.
Gutter confirms that these are specifically her hands, no one else’s. From her childhood growing up in the Free State, Gutter has worked with her hands – helping her father on the farm, her mother in the garden and vegetable patch and her grandmother with weaving out of wool and mohair. Her work has always had a strong physical presence. Her materials for priming a canvas, for example, include rabbit skin glue and bees’ wax – both of which give the paintings a dense, fleshy quality. Her painting technique – a kind of weaving together of marks, speaks of an internal energy, something morphing from one state to another – a physical presence that is also about to evolve into a new form.