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The beginning is in the manner of the ending … Summer 2009

A feature of each year-end is the annual Summer Salon.

One of the country´s oldest galleries, The Strydom Gallery stages a most impressive ensemble of art each year and this in the most unexpected small town of George. I always look forward to Leon Strydom´s annual visit to my studio as he crosses the country hand-picking work from his favourite artists. As a child I was educated by the Strydom Gallery and it remains a special event when I now take my children there each December holiday.

Other summer shows that contain my recent work are the Stanford Galleries in Stanford, the Walker Bay Gallery in Hermanus and the Hout Street Gallery in Paarl.


Everyday life remains the best place to look for for subjects. Feeling a route through acceptance and intrusion, dancing between interpretation and observation, I wander about aimlessly, looking with one eye open. One such day I visited the foundry and saw that the foundryman´s son Ben was about to sprout a beard, enter puberty, and change form forever. I immediately asked him to sit for a portrait study of his vanishing youth to which he graciously agreed.

The youth sat patiently as I measured each feature to ensure proportion and exactly 110% life size to monumental effect. Youth, exalted. Some marks that speak of the production process were intentionally left on the first casting, maybe to refer to this ongoing growth; maybe referring the marks that life leaves behind on a face? Today the subject is a young man playing original compositions on a classical guitar. Letís not put too much emphasis on interpretation when life hinges on a fine line between the ordinary and the extraordinary.


Today is time to play with my month-old daughter, pretending she is the famous model and I her personal watercolorist. As the stain dries on the paper, patience and regard keep my fiddly fingers from intruding on the settling of pigment that blooms in beautiful chaos slowly spreading across the page. I gaze at the pimply plumpness that lies in my arms, simultaneously vulnerable and powerful, asleep like a volcano. A deep and endless gratitude simply pours from me, and I know that I need not look very far for a subject.

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Met die Nuwejaarse Baard- skeerdersbos Kunsroete op 9 en 10 January 2010 sal daar weer nuwe werk in my ateljee tentoongestel word. Met ‘n wyntjie of drie in die lyf, dalk ‘n suurdeegbrood onder die arm, mag besoekers aan die hartjie van die Strandveld weereens hul gang gaan op ons paaie tussen meer as dosyn kunstenaars se solo-uitstallings.

Gaskunstenaar Clare Menck neem ook deel met haar amper spookagtige skilderye van verlate dorpstonele.

© Niël Jonker 2009 | www.nieljonker.co.za | info@nieljonker.co.za | subscribe | unsubscribe