Seeing again: Nkosinathi Thomas Ngulube

Cheek to Cheek, Nkosinathi Thomas Ngulube 

Cheek to Cheek, Nkosinathi Thomas Ngulube 

Everything has already happened and nothing has happened. I can’t think of a better way to explain my experience with Nkosinathi Thomas Ngulube’s work, particularly a series of oil paintings showcased as part of the ‘solo’ program at the Candice Berman gallery. 

I spend a lot of timeat this particular gallery and once in a while I’ll see Ngulube’s work. I admire the abstraction, composition, tone and hue but ultimately neglect the work…. I’ve always recognized the skill behind his work but never really felt moved by it. 

Until one evening at home; I was sitting listening to music when I decided to go over some old art brochures. Two pieces caught my eye; the pianist and cheek to cheek. I was surprised to think that I had seen these oil paintings before because somehow, in that moment, they became some of the most impressive abstract art pieces I had seen in my life. 

This experience of seeing again and feeling anew made me reflect on what emotions and experiences are made of. Everything is everything and things both exist and do not exist. 

These two pieces which were so impactful to me yet remained completely unseen existed - they were made and real - but they also did not exist to me….the only difference between the two realities being time. “Time is the wrench that sabotages our understanding of the universe.”

This is Ngulube talking on his work: 

‘I am greatly inspired by by my love for art, what I love, what I know, what is happening around me and my experiences. I suckle my experiences from my immediate existence, for to produce art I must be free within.’

Ngulube is a Joburg based artist practicing in various mediums; sculptural work, painting and printmaking.