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ARTisSpectrum | Volume 29 | artisspectrum.com
Q: How has photography influenced your work?
With the camera I found a new way of seeing. It seems to have helped me eliminate the non-essentials, not to imitate
but to extract and discard the irrelevant. The current events influenced the direction of my work and visions as I became
more politically aware. This work became an essay on the political scene, the apartheid regime and their repressive
race policies. I wanted to stimulate interest, inspire thought and create an awareness. My
Protest
paintings and social
comments mirrored the political climate. At this stage I realized that I needed recognizable imagery to relate to the viewer.
The challenging question was to help the viewer to look anew at familiar objects, so I placed images out of their normal
context. This element of surprise I hoped would increase their awareness and aid communication.
Q: When did you develop an interest in the plight of children?
Democracy came to South Africa in 1994 with a new black government. Nelson Mandela’s policy of truth and reconciliation
gave birth to a joyous democratic rainbow nation with freedom, a new constitution and a hope of a new future. My
painting at this time reflected this positive development. My concern was for the children of this new democratic South
Africa, who represented the infrastructure of this burgeoning nation. These children who were disadvantaged, uneducated
and living in poverty in a sad environment. My interest in children has continued and has become a frequent subject in my
new work.
Street Children and Graffiti
was my next exhibition. Through light form and symbol I have used these children
as the future of their national heritage. Graffiti forms part of these paintings and are part of the environment. There are
two issues here. The first is my exploration of graffiti as a form of vandalism and a defacement of the wall surface. On the
other hand, these are a form of enlivening the surface on which they appear. As always I was fascinated with the ambiguity
of space and planes. I have created a visual paradox. This confounds our interpretation of the space within the paintings of
objects to one another in ostensible space. This can been seen and recognized in many of my paintings.
Q: You were born in South Africa, when did you emigrate to the US?
In 2004, we emigrated to the United States of America to join our children who were settled in America. This marked the
beginning of a whole new development in my painting and in my thinking.
Q: How did this reference your work?
I became strongly aware of the overwhelming patriotism throughout the country and I wanted to interpret these impressions
of the country of my adoption. This new phase became a personal essay on my thoughts of life in America.
Patriotic
Landscapes
reflected this phase. I tried to set the scene with dramatic structure, strong light structure and disparate themes.
Q: It seems that events in the US deeply affect you and influenced your work, tell me about this?
The
Pathways
series of paintings followed. These paintings relate to the beginning of a new era. Pathways are about
choices and their importance to the future, one’s personal choices and the country’s choices-life is full of choices. There
was the presidential election that year with the choice of a first time president of color. I tried to reflect this climate in my
large canvases with strong colors, figures in special ambiguity and paradoxical relationships.
Q: Your recent work is a departure from your previous themes, why?
Free Spirits
(2012) are the concept of the early happy years of carefree youth, placed in ambiguous dissolving space, with
no responsibilities of the pressures of world problems and their vision and expectancy of a resplendent future. Unaware of
their future in the real world they are as free as birds. I have used bright incandescent colors to create the ambiance and
the atmosphere. These paintings depict the halcyon joyful innocent days and the freedom of youth.
Q: Do you have a message for emerging artists?
In the end, art is about art. The essentials are the challenges, the questions and shifts. According to Matisse, the viewers’
capacity to see is almost as important as the artist’s ability to paint. Reflections of our times has been my subject of interest
and my direction. Primarily, I am concerned with the basic elements and the development of the structure and light
within the picture plane. I have constantly marveled at Maurits Escher’s ability to manipulate space and at Francis Bacon’s
excellent use of interior space and his ability to make an image without actually illustrating life. His drama is in his paint
not in the narrative.
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