Terrain - A Group Exhibition 13 October - 4 November 2017

Terrain – A Group Exhibition – 13 October – 4 November 2017

Terrain – A Group Exhibition

13 October – 4 November 2017

Capturing the beauty of an open terrain or untouched plain is no easy task. The term landscape, originating from the dutch word ‘landschap’, is usually thought of as a scene of nature. It is a a traditional concept has certainly evolved to include other scenes including urban settings and a variety of human elements. In similar fashion a terrain speaks of a stretch of land, notably looking at its physical features.

The ‘terrain’ exhibition will primarily focus on landscape art, dating back to the 17th century when this form became important historical features. Art during this time is generally considered to subscribe to a specific style, earning it the name of classical landscape. As a result art graduated to becoming the subject itself as opposed to merely a background. Landscape art gained popularity throughout the 18th century but it wasn’t till the 1800s that this art form saw a dramatic increase of landscape paintings which depict nature. In this time the art became a clear depiction of the natural surroundings, allowing us to ‘explore’ foreign lands. As people began to appreciate these aspects of nature the effect of man on nature also became apparent, leading to industrial and urban focused landscapes.

Terrain-Catalogue (PDF)

Black and White – 27 July – 29 Aug 2017

Black and White

27 July – 29 Aug 2017

Black and white. Few phrases in the English language are more loaded than these three words. Putting something in black and white means we know exactly where we stand, it creates distinction. The metaphorical value of these words go as far back as the beginning. When there was light and dark.

For the artist, black and white means clarity. Favoured by the minimalist. A cleaner canvas means the viewer has more space to appreciate the beauty. The profile and texture underscores the beauty of the brush. Picasso was a proponent of the idea that colour weakens. An observation of his works shows his obsession with line and form.

While colour is by no means the dark horse in the art family, it is obvious that the absence of colour plays an important in role in one’s perception and attitude towards the picture. The absence of colour opens the door to our own imagination.

Elliott Erwitt is credited with the following wise words: “Color is descriptive. Black and white is interpretive.”

Black and White Catalogue (PDF)

Elements of realism – 25 May – 24 June 2017

Elements of realism

25 May – 24 June 017

Show me an angel and I will paint one. The words of Gustave Courbet aptly describes the realist movement. Coming to life around the 1850’s, this art form rests on the idea that everyday life and the world around us be suitable subjects for art.Realism was the first statement against the institution of the state and started a non-conformist movement among artists at the time. Post-revolution France saw newspaper printing and mass media gaining unprecedented popularity in the wake of the industrial revolution.
Artists like Gustave Courbet and Edouard Manet exploited this new found media frenzy to enhance their public status. The unblemished nature and rejection of idealim.

Elements of Realism Exhibition Catalogue

Assemblance Art Exhibition

Assemblance – A Modern Journey: 21 April – 20 May 2017


A Modern Journey: 21 April – 20 May 2017

Modern art was a response to the subjective, factual nature of the industrial age. Artists sought to express themselves through their art. An expression of their perspective, emotions and soul.

A trademark of the industrial revolution was urbanisation. As more people made their way into the city in search of jobs, life as they knew it would also change. New forms of leisure and enjoyment became a major influence in modern art. Art was no longer academic or reserved only for the rich and famous. People started making art about things that interested them – people, places and abstract ideas.

Many artists who we hold dear today come from that era. Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Picasso, Matisse, Cezanne and the like. Early impressionists ruffled the feathers with their new ways. Pictures were constructed from freely brushed colours as opposed to the more rigid, structured academic painting. On top of that, much of their work was done in the open air.

One could definitely describe this part of history as one where new ways and ideas were the order of the day. The impressionist movement was well represented by Monet, Cezanne, Renoir and company. A short while later artists like van Gogh and Munch were seeking ways to portray art with an element of exaggeration and abstraction. This move saw little pockets of change pop up all over Germany and was often done to evoke moods and ideas.

These movements continued for a number of years and its influence was not only limited to art. Other parts of society, such as music, theatre and even architecture, were also to explore new measures of expression.

Assemblance Exhibition Catalogue

Woordfees Exhibition – 3 – 30 March 2017

Woordfees Exhibition

3 – 30 March 2017

Art. An expression of imagination. Starting with a single word and ending with a masterpiece. A single piece of art can often be the topic of years of mystery and discussion.

The written word is another expression of the imagination. Painting with words brings clarity and insight to often vaguely understood concepts. History notes that Leonardo da Vinci recorded more than 13 000 pages of notes throughout his career. Words can paint a picture, when colours seem to fade.

The “US Woordfees” is a collective of artists and creatives combining their voices to inspire, challenge, explore and sometimes just to entertain.

Woordfees Exhibition Catalogue

Humanity Exhibition – 10 – 28 February 2017

Humanity Exhibition

10 – 28 February 2017

It is widely accepted that art and emotion go hand in hand. Art in its various forms is often a mode of expression. A number of theories in the past of limited these emotions to feelings and moods, whereas contemporary ideas suggest that aspects of expression like thought and attitude should also be considered. Understanding emotion is understanding humanity.

Emotions drive our actions as well as others perceptions thereof.The expressive nature of art is compounded by one’s ability to communicate feeling, attitude and thought. Artists have the unique position in society to provide sources or wells of emotion. These are the qualities by which a person is defined. Our ability to laugh, be sad and even to ignore define our humanity.

In the history of humanity there have been notable instances of artists ability to elicit feeling, thoughts and moods. Observing these cases show relevance to time and milieu, but the idea of art as a connector to emotions is undisputed

Humanity Exhibition Catalogue (PDF)

Frans Oerder’s claim to fame

As the early 1900’s rolled around Frans Oerder had become a well-known name on the South African landscape. Coming to South Africa as a young graduate he grabbed the first opportunity of employment by working as house painter. Some years later he took up a position as an art instructor at a local school. After eventually taking the bold step to become a full-time painter, he found some reward in his appointment as president Paul Kruger’s official war painter during the Anglo-Boer War.

After almost two decades in South Africa he started a new chapter in Holland. Upon his arrival he initially settled in a one of Holland’s southern most provinces, called Brabant. This region shares a border with its neighbour Belgium and it is widely known for its strong religious beliefs during the early half of the 20th century. Oerder did stay their very long. He eventually decided to establish himself in Amsterdam.

Frans Oerder Art

The move to the city proved to be a good move. In 1910 he married fellow painter, Gerda Pitlo. By this time his name spread far and wide as a still life and portrait artist. His connection with his new wife saw him make a definite move towards different flower compositions. One of these paintings, Magnolias, was sold to the New York Graphic Society. This piece of art became so popular that Oerder is forever remembered as a master of the still-life compositions and also brought in record sales for the Society.

Despite Oerder having built a new life far from South Africa he continued to design the cover of the weekly magazine, Die Brandwag.

In 1938 he set foot on South African soil for the first time in many years. His grand reputation had preceded him and the tower room of Pretoria City Hall was made available to him to use as a studio.

He eventually died in Pretoria in 1944 after he struggled to recover from a severe bout of pneumonia.

Frans Oerder goes to War

Frans Oerder Toward the end of the 19th century Frans Oerder was recognised as one of the first artists to portray the Transvaal landscape with some degree of authenticity. Another key observation is the manner in which these processes were communicated with his protegé, J.H Pierneef.

After a painting holiday in Zululand followed by  an exhibition in Cape Town Oerder achieved a milestone position for any professional artist. President Paul Kruger appointed him as the republic’s official war artist. He subsequently joined the Boer forces in order to realistically illustrate “battle front” scenes. Many of these paintings are now being housed in the War Museum in Bloemfontein, Africana Museum in Johannesburg as well as with  University of Pretoria’s art collection. A number of observers have commented on the superiority of Oerder’s work. Notably his reflections of the Boer War carry the marks of a highly-regarded draughtsman in composition, facility and accuracy.

After the war his life returned to “normal”; at least normal for artists of that era. He undertook travels around East Africa. Oerder was unfortunate to contract malaria during his travels. During this time he continued to receive requests for some of his work. His election to the South African Society of Artists in 1905 saw the tide finally turning in his favour. During this time he continued to receive a number of commissions for paintings.

He eventually returned to Holland in 1908 for the first time in 18 years, after finding it hard to adapt to post-war South Africa.


Frans Oerder captures the Transvaal Landscapes

Frans Oerder moved to South Africa in 1890; his brother moved to Pretoria two years prior and was so impressed that he convinced his brother to do the same. His first job on African soil was as a painter and decorator for De Wyn & Engelenburg firm and later he reverted to work for the  Zuid-Afrikaansche Spoorweg Maatschappij; painting poles along the Delagoa railway line.

Frans Oerder Art

At the time Oerder’s skill set was a rare commodity in South Africa; an artist with professional training. Frans subsequently took up a position at the Staatsmeisjesskool and the Girls High School in Pretoria. The time he spent teaching only increased his appetite for more art. In 1894, Oerder rented a studio in Church street east from where he drew newspaper cartoons and assisted Anton van Wouw with commissions. Later on he became close friends with van Wouw and also shared a studio with him. Here he received frequent visits from one of his students, Jacobus Pierneef.

1896 was an important year in the life of Frans Oerder. He finally became a South African citizen and also held his first exhibition. He was one of the first artists to portray the nature of the Transvaal landscape, he attempted to capture the colour and sense of space often only found in the Transvaal. Typical of Dutch artists, he often worked on still life and flower-pieces. Frans enjoyed working with various aspects of the visual experience – influence of light and shade, colour variations and texture.

As a young man of twenty-three Oerder had to craft a new style as there was no real need for the  traditional Dutch art that he was accustomed to. He was a naturally gifted draughtsman, finishing his six years course in a only a few years and finding a new direction seemed to be a perfect fit for Frans.

Source credit: johansborman.co.za and tandfonline.com
Image credit: dutchfootsteps.com