Inherent ecology : an examination of sculpture by Walter Oltmann, Andries Botha and Paul Edmunds.
I begin by describing Western culture in the way proposed by Fritjof Capra whose ideas remain seminal to my argument throughout this examination. I argue that Western value systems are in the midst of a major transformation, exhibiting an increasing Ecological awareness. I define Ecology as an all-encompassing phenomenon which includes the biological definition of the term as well as the practice of environmental, peace and feminist groups and movements. As such it is seen as a philosophy or approach to experiencing the world which has much in common with many spiritual traditions, contentions and intuitions. I concentrate especially on Buddhism and Taoism insofar as they articulate seminal aspects of Ecology. Situating this notion of cultural transformation and Ecology into a South African context, I interpret Waiter Oltmann's sculptures in relation to this, inherently and consciously embracing Ecological concepts and ideas and redressing cultural imbalances with his images and techniques. Andries Botha's work is likewise seen to question cultural imbalances and to pose questions about new and dynamic relationships within society and culture. His work is seen to relate very closely to Capra's ideas. Finally I discuss my own sculptures, noting how they relate to Botha's and Oltmann's works and how I consciously set out to address and articulate ideas pertaining to Ecology and my experience of the world in these terms. I discuss the origins of my images, techniques and materials and the construction of my works, describing how these relate intentionally and intuitively to the ideas which inform my work. My discussion of art making in terms of Ecology intends as much to offer a new interpretation of this art making as it does to illuminate and illustrate aspects of Ecology. In conclusion I situate this argument in the South African context, discussing how my discourse can be seen to enrich and compliment a particularly South African interpretation of these artists' works which could draw on traditional South African or Christian cultures and traditions.