Curated by Candice Berman
“The figure has remained one of my cornerstone subjects, so it is not surprising that I would incorporate people into my paintings. I have found people and interpersonal relationships difficult for as long as I can remember. Even in my more abstract paintings there is the energy of a physical presence. The process is very physical. I feel it is me that I am leaving on the canvas.”
“My work is autobiographical in the context of my recovery and journey to being a whole person. Painting has so many elements in it that I find effective for accessing a certain mood or energy. I don’t step back until I feel I have something to look at. I don’t edit my thoughts and I have tried, in the past, to find the most awkward colours that still work together in harmony.”
John-Michael Metelerkamp was born in 1982 and is based in Knysna, South Africa. From an early age he showed a talent for drawing. It became a constant practice for him to draw on paper. He also kept creating drawings throughout his difficulties with substance abuse. (He would destroy most of the work.) From his late teens and up until his early thirties he experienced a challenging period emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Ultimately, he was sent to a neurological clinic. The ensuing months saw him on the couch in front of the TV. He was cast from the couch when his brother presented him with an ultimatum. “Paint!” he said. And so John-Michael did just that. And since late 2013, he hasn’t stopped.
Have a look at our virtual exhibition an explore the works closely.