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Katharien De Villers Biography

Katharien de Villiers graduated in 2015 with an MFA in Installation from KASK, Gent, Belgium; she lives and works in South Africa.

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From sculpture to painting, and installation, conversations with the artist reveal the 'patina of time' on the works, surreal symbolism, Afrikaans onomatopoeia, and collage constructed from hybrid memories. Paying close attention to what is hidden and taken for granted, the paintings are layered and talkative. Arenas of colour give dimension to a body of work that often projects into the gallery space, entrusting the ordinary with authority, and evincing a romance with the mundane.

Through tactile manipulations, involving the juxtaposition and de-contextualization of material, de Villiers calls on the sensorial, mental, and physical potential and participation of the viewer when confronted with her work. Thus, depending on the inherent power of the given form and inclination of the beholder to be informed or moved, allowing the voluntary encounter to evolve into a symbiosis of original and inspired reality. Speaking on her work, the artist says: "When you are confronted with an image you do not send out aggressive rays of sight but let the picture work on you. And that's like experiencing. We must all create our own meaning through experience."

Her latest solo shows include Sound blindness at A4Artsts Foundation, in Cape Town. She participated in group exhibitions in Belgium, such as Vibrations Off at Kristof de Clercq gallery along with Honore d'O and Manfredo Schu.

Her first solo, A Bonnet of Gatsbys, was hosted by SMITH Gallery, Cape Town in 2017. In 2018 she had two solo shows- one in a basement in Johannesburg titled Pick Over the Bones, again with SMITH gallery, and Trembling Thought, an independent motion she held in her studio. Both these exhibitions were space- specific installations. 2019 brought yet another solo show at SMITH gallery, titled Bananas and Saints Alike. De Villiers's work featured in the Zeitz MOCAA exhibition, Still Here Tomorrow To High Five You Yesterday, 2019. Her work also features the permanent collection of the Nirox sculpture foundation. Whether painting or sculpture, de Villiers explores and questions the spatial and relational dynamics of space, the work, and its relation to the viewer.

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