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Solo Exhibition 2002 | Association of Art Pretoria

This talented young artist from Pretoria, Pieter Binsbergen‘s continuing quest for the essence of an African Culture is again clearly displayed in his forthcoming exhibition of paintings at the Mackie Street Gallery of the Pretoria Arts Association.

A variety of unadorned images confirm the artist’s unity of vision and his most profound concerns. In reality, his perception of animals and other objects exceeds, and indeed transcends, the usual pangs of conscience abouth identity, the colonial past the misfortunes and tribulations of our vast and anguished continent and its people.

What fascinates and also constitutes significant progress in Binsbergen’s work, is that while the core of his inspiration is to explore our material culture, he never descends to pedantry or prescription. In spite of the clear pursuit of an African culture, his work retains its spontaneity, suggestiveness, and emotional impact. In clear, vivid colours, he depicts the fragmented elements of the African backdrop. He paints shrubs, animals - especially elephants - branches of thorn trees, a shimmering, razor-sharp strelitzia, and primitive, primordial objects like stones and rocks in a symphony of colour and line.

Collectively, these objects transform to metaphors of an inner sensibility, a dread that our African heritage has become commercialised, and that our cherished environment has been devastated. The artist fears that, inasmuch as humans can become de-humilised, our wild life, enslaved in (p)reserves, can become de-animalised.

His Africa imagery is usually etched against wide, virtually endless landscapes and space, reflecting the grandeur and vastness of the Africa spirit.

Binsbergen’s inner turmoil remains restrained and his strong personal feelings of beauty are never compromised. In this manner, the artist attains inclusivity and a controlled power in his work, never allowing it to degenerate into a mere series of distorted images. With their adherence to established principles of composition, masterful use of colour and clear lines, his paintings remain exquisite works of art. Peter Binsbergen’s work exhorts us to rediscover and safeguard our own Africa culture. At the same time, there is a rallying call for us to experience, and indulge in, the liberating and vitalising power of this culture.

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