The artists participating in VERGE exhibition are definitely talented, but this talent doesn’t come from natural abilities. Their unique artistic styles come from hard work, exploring and life lessons. But what story hides behind the talent?
Gwendolyn Meyer’s story is one full of learning, discovery and exploration. Where we often limit ourselves to our comfort zone or what we believe we are good with, Gwendolyn pushes the edges further away. She is a photographer, but she also works on paper, with land art, curates, writes and co-creating participatory knowledge processes.
Since completing a MPhil in Sustainable Development she has increasingly explored the visual as a form and platform, to consider ideas about human nature and participation in change at this planetary turning point. She locates her work in the Transdisciplinary move to transform how humans interact and frame their place within nature.
Her human nature connection is a long standing interest in how rivers connect people to place. She explores this connection through words just as much as she does through her artistic talent.
The ‘poem’ below was written for the context of this show. In it I describe my belief that rivers are not an ‘it’ of nature, but a type of nature consciousness, a species in themselves.
The work is part of an ongoing study of rivers.
Rivers are not a species
but they may as well be
they are types of biomes
kinds of ecologies
a sort of life-giving thing.
Rivers are not species
but sustain every other type of species
they runoff from the mountain towers
and flow as veins of the planet.
Rivers are not species
but they are lost
to canals, dams, silt, dredging,
degraded, covered up, used up,
they carry the waste of
the human species.
Rivers are not species
but cannot be untangled from the species
that seems determined to destroy them
forget their names
enforce their anonymity.
Rivers are not species
to name and say
back into being.
Find out more about this multi-talented artist on her website.
Hein Botha’s artworks are meaningful, colourful and touched with cultural background. His own words explain his approach best:
“I draw and paint because I am compelled to do so.
It allows and empowers me to explore and express my understanding of nature, objects, people, myths, moments and time.
I feel that the process of image making should echo the ongoing shifting and shaping of the earth and it’s inhabitants and refresh our worldview.
The beauty and powerful presence of the marks left by the indigenous people of this land and scars of the passage of geological time forms the basis of the inspiration that informs my work.
Through drawing, and painting I hope to add to the way we look and relate to the world and our place amongst the stars and add to the stories told over time within the brief time we spend on our home planet.”
Born in Germany in 1950, Ingrid has lived in South Africa since 1978. From Germany she brings her own culture together with her time in South Africa, creating a backstory different from the average South African. Inspired by Eugene Veron’s words, ‘Art is the emotional expression of human personality’, she creates her colourful expressions. These expressions are often against the proposed fracking, however she never saw herself as an activist; only as someone who creates.
Pricks of Conscience
‘Well now, who are you then?…..Part of that Power which would the Evil ever do, and ever does the Good….A riddle!
Say what it implies?……
I am the Spirit that denies! And rightly too; for all that doth begin should rightly to destruction run.’
When asked to be part in the group of the Reddataist – I was quite reluctant – I do not see myself as an activist – so I expressed my ambivalence in my piece ‘pricks of conscience’ – stitched thoughts on white Kikoi. As time went by and living in Knysna I was quite intrigued by this amazing creature called ‘Knysna Seahorse’ – which is unique to our rivers and – and one of the many sad members of the Reddata List.
Are you interested in Ingrid Coerlin’s book or do you want to connect with her? You can find more details about her on her website by clicking here.
Ingrid Nuss backstory is full of nature. Camping between Namibia and the Cape cultivated the love and admiration she has for nature. It was also these adventures that became her creative inspiration. With her heart inspired, she graduated with distinction at the Michaelis School of Fine Art in Cape Town in 2007 and continued on an adventure. The adventure took her travelling over the world, from Hawaii to Alaska and many more.
Seeing so many different cultures have helped shape her own unique perspective, which she incorporates into her own art. It was also her interest in aspects of biology, patterns, science, philosophy and spirituality that helped her create her own art style to express her innermost emotions. This is how she explains it, “the most important part of my work is to enable a feeling, which cannot be communicated easily in words, as it connects from within”.
Yet, one of the most inspirational settings for her to paint is the Garden Route.
“My work is a visual exploration of the combination of science, nature and spirituality, like the universe in which we exist… Through my work, I wish to express the space between what we perceive as reality and our inner world, where we are constantly shifting and changing on a spiritual and cosmic level.”
For this exhibition I have found interest in the South African mammals which are on the IUCN red list. One of our most precious large cats particularly grabbed my attention as it is the fastest land mammal, and its populations are rapidly declining. There are less than 7000 mature individuals left in Africa.
The Cheetah is a wide ranging carnivore, never attaining densities higher than 2 individuals per 100km(square). Thus a great cause of the population decline is due to habitat loss and fragmentation. If they live outside protected areas they are vulnerable to conflict with livestock farmers and can result in their deaths. In further parts of Africa Cheetah are still being sold off for the illegal pet trade industry as well as sadly killed for their skins.
Another cause which opened my eyes to how we are personally affecting the decline is through the unregulated tourism. Cheetahs, especially with cubs, are a major tourist attraction and commonly attract large numbers of vehicles (a case study observed 64 vehicles present at one sighting over a period of 2 hours). It is important to be aware of strict viewing guidelines when we do visit and view wildlife. The rise in tourism has caused stress on the mothers with cubs and less and less cubs are reaching adulthood.
Although the population numbers are declining, we can be proud as South Africans that the majority of the number of Cheetahs left reside here in our homeland. We have very strict rules when it comes to setting up fencing around land, and our national parks and reserves are paying close attention to the protection of this precious species. With this in mind it is still of high concern that many of the areas where Cheetah occur suffer from lack of capacity and financial resources to support their conservation.
My aim is to create awareness by highlighting these factors through my painting. “The Winds and Waves of Change” visually explores raising environmental awareness of tourism’s impact, rising human populations, and social changes leading to ever increasing subdivision of land and subsequent habitat fragmentation. By sharing the message of this alarming situation, perhaps we can protect this beautiful big cat for many generations to come.
Read more about Ignis Nuss’ adventures on her website.
Jurgens has a unique style that is flowing and free. His work is often light and bright, which generally adds to the feeling of clean, openness. Yet every work comes with a story of its own.
My work is a visual story that focuses on integrating humans with giant animals in a fairytale world. Each artwork aims to represent an isolated emotion within the story.
The theme I wanted to capture is the symbiosis of man living in harmony with nature, rather than depicting an often bleak future we envision when contemplating the negative impacts we have on our environment.
I’m Jurgens Walt, illustrator, painter and storyteller.
To see Jurgens work, you can follow him on his Instagram.
Nico has a different type of experience behind him. He has worked as a set designer and builder for many years. However, he has now turned his talent to drawing and creating sculptures for his own creative needs.
You can view his website here.
Quentin is a freelance graphic designer and artist living in Cape Town. Some of you might be able to relate to Quentin’s story, or rather see some more artistic promise in yourself. Quentin, like so many of us, doodle… a lot. He found pages of his doodles and instead of seeing rubbish to throw away, he saw potential.
After years of throwing away old note books used for to-do lists and client briefs, I realised that there were pages full of doodles I had unconsciously drawn while either speaking to someone on the phone, trying to work out the best colour combination for a corporate identity or wondering what to have for dinner.
After the first notebook containing 200 A4 pages of little scribbles and odd looking faces had been scanned, I started compiling these individual elements into a greater picture, but quickly realised that there were so many different textures and densities to these individual images that they can be used as ‘brush strokes’ to create depth and bring some definition to the bigger image.
I have also started creating the bigger doodles directly onto paper as commissions for clients using pencil and then ink for the final product. This has been an interesting experience, as now the doodles are more thought through and not as organic, but both versions have their place.
He will exhibit his collection he made for “VULNERABLE AND ENDANGERED: Creating awareness of their plight through art”, an exhibition earlier this year, at VERGE exhibition.
You can see some of Quentin’s work on his website.
These artist prove that our own artistic style is developed over time through our own experiences in life. Keep your eyes open to the opportunities that might be hiding right under your own nose, perhaps even in your notebook. We hope you will enjoy these artists unique styles and perspectives at the coming VERGE exhibition. To find out more about the events you can attend, please see the Facebook Page or visit the website.