Jonathan le Roux


About the artist:

I work in painting, film, and more recently, sculpture. My painting uses pastels and spray, hardware paints, and oils and acrylics on canvas and board. In addition to a Batchelor of Arts in Motion Pictures (BAMP) from AFDA, The School for the Creative Economy in Cape Town, I was mentored by the South African experimental artist Kevin Atkinson at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town. I achieved a First in painting and photography - unheard of for a first year student within the art school.

My work is abstract and narrative in nature, and encoded with the symbolism and forms of life in South Africa. Kevin Atkinson’s experimentation with Abstract Expressionism and Conceptual art have left their mark on my practice but I feel his influence most keenly in the way he took me under his wing. He would invite me into ‘Plato’s Cave’, his basement warehouse studio, where we would talk about anything and everything - except artistic technique. He passed on to me an urge to be forever inspired by my surroundings.

I carry with me the light and life of the African landscape. The South African master Pierneef is another source of inspiration. His paintings of the Highveld distilled the landscape to geometric structures, flat planes, lines and colour to present harmony and order in nature. My work does not always mirror such harmony but despite living under muted English skies for 20 years, I cannot shake off the monumental memory of the South African landscape and its uninhabited, dramatic light and colour. I use mixed media painting techniques, film and sculptural elements. In one work ( The Traveller). I use a car part. It looks like a mechanical heart.

I am telling stories of a life and from a life that has not always been easy.