Michelle van Reenen is a painter and graphic designer who works from her home studio in Cape Town, South Africa. Michelle obtained a BA degree in Visual Arts from the University of Stellenbosch in 1999. She was the co-creative director of a graphic design studio Room 13 Design for 16 years and now manages its affiliated company Room 13 Collection. She is married and a mom of two.
Michelle van Reenen’s practice sensitively delves into the complex relationship between the conscious and unconscious selves, ultimately making space for harmonious existence between the two. Her vibrant paintings find their origin in the sphere of art therapy and are produced by letting go of conscious control over the process and final pieces. Working intuitively, Michelle reveals the psyche by giving it form and colour.
6 – 31 Oct | The Ladder | 136 Bree Street, Cape Town
‘YEARS GO BY’
“If we opened people up, we’d find landscapes.” Agnès Varda
I started painting four years ago after a 25-year hiatus from art making. This exhibition is a small selection of work made since 2018. My initial inspiration comes from old family photographs. Photographs of my late father sparked my interest in portraiture and the elusive nature of memory.
This enquiry has since taken me to observe the figure itself – the body and its relationship to the space around it. Influenced by my background in graphic design, I push unexpected colour combinations and layer textures with paint, ink and pastels. I allow the forms to be quiet and the colour to be busy; vibrant aquamarines, turquoises and greens dominate my palette and express a sense of nostalgia.
Through the process of remembering, I started painting memories of nature itself. Childhood adventures in the Free State and more recent travels in the vast Karoo have ignited my fascination with how a closer look into a grey-brown landscape reveals unlimited colour and texture. I’ve omitted the figure, relying mostly on colour, brushstrokes and mark making using potato prints or sticks gathered while walking. With my work I want to capture a glimpse of a moment in time, showing the infinite human connection to the expansiveness of nature itself.
2021: SESSIONS | Group Exhibition | Facilitated by Dominique Edwards | 196 Victoria Gallery, Cape Town.
‘Michelle has been working with translating the intensity of feeling through gesture, mark and colour with paint. This undertaking, core to her practice, has involved working with the bodies and faces of people closest to her – drawing from a collection of black and white family photographs and extending her enquiry into working with her own image. Throughout this process, prolific in its’ essence, Michelle has been brushing up against the elusive nature of painting itself. Bringing to light the delicate equilibrium between an awareness of the artist being present when painting – not to want for too much, too little or for anything at all; and yet being bold and assertive enough to lose oneself in the moment’ – Words by Dominique Edwards
All prints are released as a limited edition of 50 with various sizing options and printed on high-quality giclée 300g fine art paper.
Giclée is a fine art printing process combining long-lasting archival inks with high-quality art paper, achieving prints of superior quality, light fastness and deep vibrant colours.
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