About Natasja De Wet | Art.co.za | Art in South Africa
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About The Artist

Artist Photo

Artist Statement

It can safely be said that all good contemporary art refers in some way to 'the human condition'. While Natasja de Wet does not set out deliberately to make profound statements about any specific aspect of this topic, the perceptive viewer should quickly realise that all her works, in some way, reflect the 'angst' connected with being human.

Also in keeping with contemporary trends, she does not allow herself to become trapped in a single medium or discipline but moves freely between oil painting, mixed-media drawing, three-dimensional assemblage and installation.

Her best-known works are her oil paintings, in which she applies paint in thick, rich brushstrokes; often on acrylic sheets. These are known for the informal portraiture in which images and faces emerge from a seemingly chaotic darkness. Her use of traditional chiaroscuro is enhanced by the layering of several sheets of acrylic through which visual information is concealed and revealed. All these artistic devices serve to enhance the energy, pathos and vulnerability of the human faces.

Likewise, her drawings and mixed-media works are energetic and dramatic; sometimes linked to her three-dimensional assemblages, which are constructed from found objects. These works appear to entail a system of gradually 'excavating meaning' from objects collected in an intuitive and seemingly random manner.

A recent example of this modus operandi (2004) includes detritus collected from the local mental institution. (De Wet rented studio space in an old unused building belonging to this institution). A rusty bed base with exposed springs, old keys with stamped and coded metal tags, a burnt-out gas heater, all became powerful metaphors for a section of society that is marginalised because it evokes fear, anxiety and unease in so-called 'normal' people. When drawn on extra-large formats with a mixture of inks and charcoal in a spontaneous style, they also became portraits of the spiritual presence of unknown, afflicted persons.

All De Wet's work could be seen as portraiture of some kind. Just as a superior portrait painter gives the viewer an almost voyeuristic insight into the nature of a person, so Natasja de Wet instinctively strives to reveal something of the inner character or soft underbelly of humankind.

Written April 2005 by Judy Moolenschot BA Fine Art (Unisa)

Artist Biography

Natasja de Wet was born in South Africa in 1968. She is a Fine Art and Graphic Design graduate from Tshwane University of Technology. De Wet continued her studies in Visual Art at UNISA under former professor and HOD of Visual Art Elfriede Dreyer and Koos van der Watt, at third-year level in Drawing and Painting. De Wet’s subtle portrayal of the human psyche led her to study Psychophonetics (personal development) at Persephone College under Jehuda Tagar. In 2017 she completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Painting at Michaelis School of Fine Art.

In her early solo exhibitions, Facing Reality (2001) and Living in Process (2002), she questioned and excavated, with oil on acrylic sheets, the continual process of life. In 2004 she followed these with a conceptual and installation exhibition about Valkenburg Mental Hospital (Re-Con-Text), with dramatic drawings and mixed-media work linked to three-dimensional assemblage, constructed from found objects.

After partaking in a group exhibition (Afrovibes) in Amsterdam, another solo exhibition, Thicker Skin was held in Cape Town in 2008 (the work here a row of acrylic boxes containing objects made from fabric, latex, gauze, bandages, rubber and paper, exploring issues like camouflage, hiding, insecurity and sexuality).

Also in 2008, Sasol Gas acquired the work on paper 'The grass is greener on the other side', and it now hangs in the foyer of the Sasol Gas building in Johannesburg.

In 2009 De Wet participated in the Florence Biennale, where she received an award for ‘Excavating Solid Courage’ – a mixed-media work on paper. She continued with this theme and showed the body of work ‘Contemplation’ at the 2011 Izmir Biennale in Turkey.

In her fifth solo exhibition, Running Towards Yourself, in Cape Town in 2013, De Wet explored the notion that, unconsciously, humans are in constant flux to balance, or at least harmonize, the feminine and masculine sides of their being. The paintings were produced in acrylic on canvas, allowing for the rapid and energetic application of paint and expressionistic mark-making.

In 2015 one of De Wet’s paintings from the body of work ‘Running Towards Yourself’ was acquired for the permanent collection of the city of Seinäjoki, in Finland.

All De Wet’s work can be seen as portraiture of some kind. She instinctively strives to reveal the inner character, or soft underbelly, of humankind.

Artist CV

TERTIARY TRAINING - COMPLETED STUDIES

Tshwane University of Technology

  • National Diploma Fine Art
  • National Diploma Graphic Design

    Persephone College

  • Diploma , Psychophonetics Personal Development

    UNISA

  • BA Visual Art (Third year level)

    Michaelis School of Fine Art

  • Postgraduate Diploma

    GROUP EXHIBITIONS

  • Christmas Exhibition Is Art Gallery - Franschoek 2018 - 2019
  • Tiny Treasures ArtB Gallery - Cape Town 2018
  • Synesthesia Artbox Gallery - Pretoria 2018
  • Raven ArtWear Launch Cape Town 2018
  • Graduate Exhibition, Michaelis School of Fine Art - Cape Town 2017
  • Abstract, Youngblood Arts & Culture Development - Cape Town 2017
  • Artists Living with Disabilities, Youngblood Arts & Culture Development - Cape Town - 2015
  • In the Garden, Youngblood Arts & Culture Development - Cape Town - 2015
  • Beyond Borders, Yli Rajojen - Seinajoen Taidehalli - Finland - 2015
  • Youngblood Collaboration, Youngblood Arts & Culture Development - Cape Town - 2015
  • Art of Objects by artists, Allderman POP UP Gallery and The Studio Kalk Bay - 2014
  • Edgemead Library Exhibition, Artmore Marketing Services - Cape Town - 2014
  • 1000DRAWINGS Empowerment Project, Cape Town - 2014
  • Om die hasepad te kies, Die Breytenbach Galery/Gallery - Wellington - 2013
  • HAWK Hangklip Art Week, Harold Porter National Botanical Garden - Betty’s Bay - 2013
  • Fried Autumn Art Fair, FRIED Contemporary Gallery - Pretoria - 2013
  • Christmas Exhibition, Is Art Gallery - Le Quartier Francais Franschoek - 2012
  • Alter Ego, Rust & Vrede Gallery - Durbanville - 2012
  • Life, Rust & Vrede Gallery - Durbanville - 2012
  • Johannesburg 360 degrees, Artspace - Johannesburg - 2011
  • Self Portrait, Rust & Vrede Gallery - Durbanville - 2011
  • Izmir Biennale, Izmir, Turkey - 2011
  • Florence Biennale, Award for “Work on Paper”, Florence, Italy - 2009
  • Oppitafel: Babette’s , Artspace - Johannesburg - 2009
  • AVA Artreach Artists’ Clocks , Association for Visual Arts - Cape Town - 2008
  • Afrovibes , Galerie Chiellerie - Amsterdam, The Netherlands - 2008
  • Oppitafel VI , Artspace - Johannesburg - 2007
  • Greenhouse – from painting to plastic, Bell-Roberts Gallery - Lourensford Estate, Somerset West - 2007
  • KKNK Flesh, Oudtshoorn - 2007
  • Turn the Table, Artspace - Johannesburg - 2006
  • Dornier Wine Estate Art Expo, Stellenbosch - 2006
  • Portraits, Chelsea on 34 - Darling - 2006
  • Membership Exhibition, Association for Visual Art - Cape Town - 2005
  • Oppitafel, Artspace - Johannesburg - 2005
  • Absolut Finale, AVA - Cape Town - 2005
  • Absolut Moment , AVA - Cape Town - 2004
  • Graphics & Ceramics, Chelsea on 34 - Darling - 2004
  • Serenity, Chelsea on 34 - Darling - 2003
  • Absolut Magic, AVA - Cape Town - 2003
  • Puzzles , Rust & Vrede Gallery - Durbanville - 2003
  • Bon Voyage, Chelsea Gallery - Cape Town - 2003
  • Salon Sale, Rust & Vrede Gallery - Durbanville - 2002
  • Gifted , Bellville Art Association - Cape Town 2002
  • Alteration, Chelsea Gallery - Cape Town - 2002
  • Under the Southern Cross, Chelsea Gallery - Cape Town - 2002
  • Absolut Voyeur, AVA - Cape Town - 2002
  • Aarsel, Karoo Kunstefees - Oudtshoorn - 2001
  • Transparency, Chelsea Gallery - Cape Town - 2000
  • Group Exhibition 1, Joao Ferreira Fine Art - Cape Town - 2000
  • Group Exhibition 2, Joao Ferreira Fine Art - Cape Town - 2000
  • Unisa Student Exhibition, National Gallery - Annexe Gallery - Cape Town - 1999
  • New Art Exhibition, Joao Ferreira Fine Art - Cape Town - 1999
  • Membership Exhibition, Association of Visual Art - Cape Town - 1999
  • Bellville New Signatures Competition - (Final) , Bellville Art Association - Cape Town - 1999
  • Unisa Student Exhibition, African Window - Pretoria - 1999
  • Bellville New Signatures Competition - (Final), Bellville Art Association, Cape Town - 1997
  • ABSA Atelier Competition - (Final), Pretoria Art Museum - 1996
  • Technikon Exhibition, Noord-Transvaalse Raad van Kultuursake, Pretoria - 1991
  • Technikon Pretoria Final Year Exhibition, Pretoria Art Association - 1991
  • Technikon Group Exhibition, Kempton Park - 1991

    SOLO EXHIBITIONS

  • Melancholia Pathology Museum, UCT Pathology Learning - Cape Town - 2019
  • Running towards yourself , Casa Labia - Cape Town - 2013
  • Thicker Skin , Association for Visual Arts (AVA) - Cape Town - 2008
  • RE-CON-TEXT , Joao Ferreira Gallery - Cape Town - 2004
  • Living in Process , Chelsea Gallery - Cape Town - 2002
  • Facing Reality , Chelsea Gallery - Cape Town - 2001

    BIENNALES

  • Izmir Biennale, Izmir, Turkey - 2011
  • Florence Biennale, Florence, Italy - 2009

    COMPETITIONS AND AWARDS

  • Florence Biennale Award for “Work on Paper" , Florence, Italy - 2009
  • Bellville New Signatures Competition (Final), Bellville Art Association, Cape Town - 1999
  • Bellville New Signatures Competition (Final), Bellville Art Association, Cape Town - 1997
  • ABSA Atelier Competition (Final), Pretoria Art Museum - 1996

    TELEVISION AND RADIO INTERVIEWS

  • DSTV, Fashion One - 2016
  • RADIO SONDER GRENSE , RSG - 2009
  • SABC 2 , Curious Culture - 2006
  • DSTV , Kunskafee - 2002
  • DSTV , Kunskafee - 2001

    WORK EXPERIENCE AS LECTURER

    April 1997 - August 1997

  • The Design School, Southern Africa (Pretoria and Johannesburg), Graphic Design Lecturer and Fine Art Lecturer

    January 1998 - December 1998

  • Ruth Prowse College of Art and Design (Cape Town), Head of Graphic Design Department, Graphic Design and Fine Art Lecturer

    January 2008 - October 2013

  • Mixed-Media Art Classes Cape Town), Painting Workshops, Self-Exploration and Mixed-Media Art Workshops
  • March 2013 - January 2014
  • Casa Labia Gallery (Muizenberg, Cape Town)
  • Rust & Vrede Gallery (Durbanville, Cape Town)
  • March 2016 - onwards
  • Self-Exploration and Mixed-Media Art Workshops


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