Greg Streak is an interdisciplinary practitioner working in sculpture, video, installation and documentary filmmaking. His cool aesthetic, even minimalist work is characterised by formalistic concerns and a preoccupation with the materiality of substance and things, but also space, both physical and psychological.
Streak has a sharply critical and eclectic eye. His more recent work is characterised by his ability to transform mundane materials into simple, yet complex objects that give new value and meaning to their intersection. These constructions usually carry subtle political overtones, and reinforce Streak’s preoccupation with his sense of displacement.
“I have regarded the practice of art as a form of critical enquiry, as conceptually reflective research. I grew up in post-apartheid South Africa at a time that brought to the larger public discourse an especially urgent examination of the dynamics of privilege and power. What were regarded as norms of such privilege and power were exposed as constructs, mechanism of control, or repressive tools disguised as “necessary.” This experience made me keenly aware of those forces within society where forms of government, political persuasions, economic conditions, educational structures, religious institutions, and various forms of media exert formidable influences. Given that this shaping of perceptions occurs in large part through word and image, I believe that visual art has a vital role to play in exposing hidden and potentially erroneous ideologies, offering counter narratives. In my practice, I aim to broaden discourses around social dynamics, not by providing solutions, but rather through asking difficult questions or creating sites of subversion.”
Where most tend to specialize in search of a formula, Streaks’ work is characterized by an almost Naumanesque dexterity – the works are not confined by any method, material or technique.
“Where some of his object-based work refers directly to retraction and isolation in ways that sublimate the ‘human’ almost completely, some of Streak’s earlier video work explores these psychological interstices in an embodied way: they are figurative studies which retain elements of human identification and in this, imply the possibility of transformation.”
He is the founder member and coordinator of PULSE – an artists run initiative linked to the RAIN Artists’ Initiatives Network. Under the umbrella of PULSE, he has organised numerous international projects including the critically acclaimed Hiv(e) project (2004). His first full feature documentary film Beauty and the Beasts won a Special Mention Jury Award at the 2006 Durban International Film Festival. He obtained a practice-based PhD in Visual and Performing Arts in 2021 and was a full-time lecturer at the Durban University of Technology until July 2023 when he decided to resign in order to explore more challenging and fertile pedagogical ground abroad. In the interim he operates as an independent artist and researcher.
Streak currently lives and works out of Knysna in the Western Cape, South Africa.