This month our focus is on Gabrielle Kruger, a South African artist who reimagines the South African landscape through a unique practice of painting acrylic paint onto a canvas and then “freeing” the paint from the canvas to create three-dimension natural scenes. She is also closely involved in her mother’s textile art studio – Isobel Sippel Studio – which focuses on the creation of beautiful linen tablecloths and other textile fabrics.
South African art comes to life
Gabrielle Kruger was born in 1993 in Cape Town and graduated from Stellenbosch University summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2015. She went on to receive her Masters in Fine Arts from Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town in 2018. She has held exhibitions widely within South Africa
Gabrielle Kruger’s unique approach to art is both tactile, tantalising and very real. Instead of a mere landscape painted on a canvas, Gabrielle paints onto plastic using acrylic paint and then peels her artwork off the plastic sheet. She deconstructs the painting by removing its supporting structure and then recreates it in a landscaped gallery space. The three-dimensional rendition of her art results in a painting in its most absolute form as the natural environment is recreated indoors.
Her work is not a mere reflection of nature but portrays the effect that humans have had on the natural world and how nature has become malleable as a result of humanity’s actions. Acrylic paint is a form of plastic and creating a natural scene out of ‘plastic’ places focus on the inclusion of plastic into nature through pollution.
Despite this anti-pollution sub text her work is extremely beautiful, mimicking plants and foliage, distracting the viewer from its material value as paint – covering the paint material by representation – which at their molecular level, remains plastic paint.
Textile designer at Isobel Sippel Studio
Gabrielle works closely with her mother at her mother’s studio, which was developed out of a deep love of textiles and a desire to create beautiful objects. Here, fabric is painted, hand dyed and stitched by a close team of creative people. The results are beautiful images depicting life’s abundance on a backdrop of pure linen fabrics. From cushions to linen tablecloths and table runners, every item is breathtakingly beautiful and unique.
View Gabrielle’s installation at SMAC gallery in Stellenbosch
Gabrielle has collaborated with studio mate Marlene Steyn to create ‘Garden Smoothie’ – a collaborative exhibition of their work. The inspiration behind this installation is the idea of ‘something growing’ and it’s designed to replicate their studio practice, which is a vibrant space overgrown with art. Garden Smoothie is a delicious, lush exhibition that combines paint and ceramics in a unique mingling of unconventional materials. The ingredients of this Eden include everything from leaves to nudity with playful undertones throughout this greenhouse of delight.
Garden Smoothie was displayed until the 23 February 2019.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – a inaugural collaboration between NIROX and the national School of Arts
In a South African city plastic jungle, which reflects attitudes and the materials of the 21st century was set – ‘A Midsummer night’s dream’. In a plastic and fake world, this play gave us an opportunity for just one moment, to discover our imaginations and dream. Gabrielle Kruger set the scenography for the play following an extended spell in the NIROX Artist Residency.
Held on Saturday 16 March – for more information on this African interpretation, visit – www.niroxarts.com
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