“Having lived in Johannesburg for seventeen years, I spent my time “searching for the city”, searching for the imagery that reflected not only the city but its energy and inhabitants. Each canvas began one way and ended another; the present is there, but the past tended to creep in. Figures, alienated, try to “find the city”, but they are drawn in and out by windows of their past landscapes.
Not only did I try to “find the city”, or my interpretation of Johannesburg, I also explored a new way of depicting the images, new techniques of using paint, a more colourful yet simple palette. I’ve been thinking about colour and its intrinsic meaning. This body of work is a beginning and at the same time, a diversion from what went before”.
I have recently moved to Cape Town and am adjusting to the light and the climate of this region. The social and political questions in this city are similar but not quite the same...the sea and the mountain add a totally new dynamic to my search.
"I have developed the technique of my multi-layered monotypes over many years. It is a technique of applying oil-based ink onto a large surface of the glass and lifting off the colour, layer by layer and allowing the colour to dry between each lift-off. Once I have a number of layers of colour, I roll black ink onto the glass and then place the layered paper face down on the black ink and draw the image that I have in mind. The drawing appears on the back of the paper and so when I “lift off” I see the result in reverse and am constantly delighted with the spontaneity of the line drawing. Each work is unique and impossible to reprint".
The subject of these works on paper is varied and largely intuitive. I use the technique to work freely with colour and line. Because the work is all done “blind”, from the layering of colour to the drawing, all of which is done from the back of the paper, the actual outcome can never be exactly predetermined. I may have an image in mind but the spontaneity and unpredictability of the technique finally determines the actual outcome.
Johannesburg is my home. And even though it is my home, Jo'Burg continues to be a city of discovery and fascination to me. Every day I find myself “searching for the city”, searching for the imagery that reflects not only the physicality of this c y, but more importantly its energy and the still unexplored spaces of its people. Each work begins one way and ends another; the present is there, but so too the past. Figures, alienated, try to “find the city”, but are drawn in and out by windows of their past landscapes to the future and the past.
In the process of trying to “find the city”, I have also been exploring a new way of depicting the images, new techniques of using the paint, and also exploring a more colourful yet simple palette. I’ve been thinking about colour and ways to make colour speak to its intrinsic meaning. This body of work is the beginning and at the same time an innovation of the past and exploration into the future, a reflection in images of life itself.
I grew up in the Eastern Cape and studied art at the Rhodes University Art School and the University of Cape Town where I graduated in 1981. My professional career has been marked by both service to my community and individual enterprise. In the eighties and nineties I returned to the Eastern Cape and worked with various NGO’s in child care and frail care servicing poor communities. Later I worked in rural disadvantaged schools in the Port Elizabeth district through an organisation called The Arts Initiative. At the same time, I was a founder member of Imvaba Arts Association where I worked closely with artists in New Brighton, Kwazakhele and Motherwell townships of Port Elizabeth in order to promote and assist artists through workshops and exhibitions in an era of extreme repression under the state of emergency. Post-1994 I moved to Johannesburg where I have worked full time as a professional artist for the past twenty years out from the Lilian Road Studios in Fordsburg, Johannesburg. During this period I have exhibited nationally and internationally in numerous group shows and I am fortunate in that my work continues to attract diverse audiences and buyers. In 2012 I completed a two-month residency at the Cite International des Arts in Paris.