This mezzotint, "Hide," is part of the broader installation, "Hide," in which Christine Dixie explores the divisions and boundaries of interior and geographic states. "Hide" shows five figures--portraits of the artist, her husband, infant, pet dog and a friend--floating in space. Each is surrounded by tiny pinpricks. When framed and installed on a lightbox, these become star-like points of light, setting each figure in an animal-hide frame. Below, the artist has printed the multiple definitions of "hide:" v.t. to withhold or withdraw from sight; to conceal; to screen; to suppress; not to confess: v.i. to lie concealed: n. a hiding place… n. hide, the skin of an animal… n. hide, a portion of land in Saxon times… Although these figures now float in space, they remain bound and tethered to a hide, a conceptual grounding.
As Gerhard Schoeman writes in 2001, "Dixie's work is rooted in both the concrete and fantastical experience of the South African landscape--inner and outer--placing her work within a tradition of landscape art that is particular to the Eastern Cape." That she draws the connection between her personal history and identity and the land beneath her feet is further evidenced in a self-portrait entitled, "Unravel." Dixie created this work at the invitation of artist, critic and curator, Clive van den Berg. He requested the artist to create a self-portrait that fit within certain dimensions. This was her response. And once again in this linocut and etching, the artist has recreated the details of her own image set against the defining landscape of the Eastern Cape. One is left to wonder if what is unraveling is the history woven into this landscape, or the artist's own sense of herself in relation to place.
Mezzotint on paper of 4 human figures, including a man, a woman, and an infant, and a dog floating on white paper that has been perforated with pinprick holes. Text runs along the base, with definitions of the term "hide."
Corporeal Prospects: Works by Christine Dixie 1993-2007, The Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, July 31-September 1, 2007
Christine Dixie-"Hide," Ibis Art Centre, Nieu-Bethesda, December 16, 2001-January 27, 2002; The Millennium II Gallery, Johannesburg, February 8-March 2, 2002; The University of Stellenbosch Gallery, March 7-28, 2002; The Albany Museum, Grahamstown, 2002