Dr Meyer van Rensburg: Out of the Mist 6th Jan to 31st Jan 2014

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Dr Meyer van Rensburg:  Out of the Mist

6th Jan to 31st Jan 2014

Open evening Wed 8th January 7-9pm

I am intrigued by the haziness that settles over the countryside and city as different elements emerge out of the mist: cities, trains, bridges, islands, etc., almost like the original Creation, where the world emerged out of the primordial mists as organic forms and shapes first appeared. I endeavour to keep the mystery of the swirling mists going while depicting each new scene as a composition on its own.

I have been drawing ever since I can remember, first imitating illustrations I saw in magazines as a schoolboy and then progressing to charcoal drawings and painting in oils simply for my own enjoyment.  Most of my paintings are concentrated around a strong central theme. Some of my previous work included wheat fields and grasslands, which always fascinated me, as I spent my youth as a farmer’s son in the Northern Cape in South Africa. However, since immigrating to England in 2004, I have been intrigued by the mists that settle over the countryside and city during the rainy season.

The danger in concentrating on misty scenes is that it can become grey and dreary but, because of my South African background, I love bright, sunny colours and so I have endeavoured to combine the two different aspects in my paintings. Watching misty scenes allows one to see different elements emerging out of the mist. Skies in these paintings often have bright colours, such as magenta, purple, yellow and orange instead of just being blue because in nature the clouds are masterfully painted and sculpted by the sun’s rays reflecting through the mist. Bays and inlets of the sea become stormy scenes with pregnant clouds suspended and ready to disperse their heavy load of vapour on the mossy rocks and crags below. The vibrant colours and shapes are often ephemeral, changing balance and hue as the light strikes it differently and one is tempted to paint the same scene over and over.

In this exhibition there are two paintings that are still heavily reminiscent of the African landscape where bushfires envelop the countryside and leave very little standing afterwards except the lonely and hardy aloes, sticking their thorny fingers into the sky in defiance to the smoke and devastation that the fire has left behind. These two paintings form a bridge between the past and the present for me, as the smoke of Africa is replaced by the mists of Britain.

I have been mostly self-taught but must pay homage to my eldest brother, Nic, who showed me the basics, and also for the inspiration and encouragement I have received from South African artists George Boyes and Johan Lategan.