Moving mountains: Jonathan Freemantle at Cape Town's Gallery MOMO

Jonathan Freemantle’s paintings are at altitude at MOMA in Cape Town
Jonathan Freemantle brings his latest collection – entitled 'Der Heilige Berg' – home to Gallery MOMO in Cape Town
(Image credit: press)

South African born artist Jonathan Freemantle has spent time with mountains throughout his life. He was born and bred near Cape Town's iconic Table Mountain, worked near the Magaliesburg range outside of Johannesburg and meditated at a remote mountain range in Scotland surrounding the Rannoch Moor.

In his latest show at the MOMO Gallery in Cape Town, the artist channeled exactly this mountain impulse into the work – collectively entitled 'Der Heilige Berg' ('The Holy Mountain'). Freemantle found the Scottish mountains after being directed by Richard Demarco; and as it turns out, so did Joseph Beuys in the 70s, who declared it 'the last remaining wilderness in Northern Europe' (images of Beuys on Rannoch Moor are incorporated into the show).

The mountains, now on canvas, are painted from rocks, ochres and slates gathered from two of the ranges he’s spent time in. Freemantle would methodically grind these materials down into powder and then mix them with beeswax, turpentine, linseed oil and Damar resin. Thus, the paintings are the mountain.

'The rest of the work is a kind of conscious process, in the same way that walking up a mountain is a process – at the end is a momentary glimpse of the sublime', said Freemantle. 'All I am doing is a conscious walk with the occasional glimpse upwards to check my path'.

For inspiration, Freemantle swapped his native Table Mountain for the remote Scottish mountaintops of the Rannoch Moor

For inspiration, Freemantle swapped his native Table Mountain for the remote Scottish mountaintops of the Rannoch Moor, where he spent time meditating

(Image credit: press)

Slates, ochres and rocks scavenged from the Scottish peak were powdered and applied to the canvases to rugged, earthy effect

Mountains not only inspired the subject of Freemantle's work, but also made up the material he used. Slates, ochres and rocks scavenged from the Scottish peak were powdered and applied to the canvases to rugged, earthy effect. Pictured: The Last Remaining Wilderness (I-VIII)

(Image credit: press)

Through the process of grinding the rock, the mountain becomes part of the painting itself.

Through the process of grinding the rock, the mountain becomes part of the painting itself. Pictured: 'Der Heilige Berg' (installation view)

(Image credit: press)

Collection of stones on the different mountains

'The rest of the work is a kind of conscious process,' explains Freemantle, 'in the same way that walking up a mountain is a process – at the end is a momentary glimpse of the sublime'. Pictured: Found Mountains

(Image credit: press)

Photograph of Joseph Beuys on Rannoch Moor.

Rannoch Moor. Courtesy Richard Demarco and the Demarco Archive at Summerhall, Edinburgh

(Image credit: Joseph Beuys)

Installation view at gallery

 'All I am doing is a conscious walk with the occasional glimpse upwards to check my path', Freemantle modestly concludes. Pictured: Joseph Beuys on Rannoch Moor (installation shot).

(Image credit: Courtesy Richard Demarco and the Demarco Archive at Summerhall, Edinburgh)

INFORMATION

’Der Heilige Berg’ is on view until 23 January 2016. For more information, visit Gallery MOMO’s website (opens in new tab), or Freemantle’s website (opens in new tab)

ADDRESS

Gallery MOMO
170 Buitengracht Street
Cape Town City Centre
Cape Town, 8001

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