Bastiaan van Stenis

Born in South Africa on the 24th of June 1981, a self-taught Post-Apartheid South African artist is a descendant of the renowned 19th Century English painter John Thomas Baines.

Bastiaan, of half Dutch, half South African descent, grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, where in 2000 he began to fully dedicate himself to painting and commenced exhibiting his work, an endeavour that he continues to this day.

In his own words, “What drives me is the process, the creating, and the creation itself is just another stop on the way. His paintings are expressed using a diverse range of tools and mediums including paint, cloth, encaustic wax, hair, glues and collage. His other projects include taxidermy, sculpture and composition of music.

Bastiaan’s work is Identifiable through his unique use of colour and texture, the artist provides audiences with a reflexive view of the world. His is an oeuvre that compels us to look and look again as he contradicts distinct, yet inextricably linked subjects through a montage of techniques and sound draughtsmanship.

Bastiaan’s recent work is an unpredictable assembly of visuals inspired by nature. Bastiaan van Stenis imaginatively meditates on his surroundings and gives us a brief yet unwavering narrative of the environment and the animals and humans that inhabit this space. The artist relays a multiplicity of meaning through his paintings where diversity is reflected in each work. His exploration of materials echo the duality of urban and rural landscapes and his un-division of human and animal forms are transparent.

Bastiaan has developed his style through years of practice. He has exhibited both locally and abroad in Europe. Van Stenis grew up with art as an essential tool in his dialogue with the world. He began his art career at age 19 and was soon recognized by local art critics and collectors as one of the most promising contemporary artists.

After having moved to Germany in 2011, where he painted full-time for two years and shared a studio space with the renowned Author and Artist Stephan Kaluza, as well as the photographer, Horst Wackerberth. Who For over a quarter of a century he has been travelling around the world with his red couch which Bastiaan claims to have slept on for one or two nights. Earlier in 2016 van Stenis moved to Overstrand, where he is currently based after years of working from his studio in Bo-Kaap.

This shift in space is evident in a turn to new media where, for the first time, the artist explores taxidermy. The preparation, stuffing and mounting of the skins display a process that preserves nature and somehow attempts to withhold time while commemorating the sculptural.

Bastiaan van Stenis continues to bend our minds and exhibits the contradictions inherent in the everyday. His works are monuments that oscillate between the quiet composure of nature and the chaos of human internal conflicts. Through juxtaposition of subjects and media, van Stenis calls on the beauty of the un-answerability of larger existential questions.

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