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INTIMATE AND PERSONAL REVELATION (article first published : 2003-10-2)

To find a painter such as Andries Gouws is a thrilling discovery.

In his second solo show at the NSA Galleries in Durban, the artist did several walkabouts which were enlightening to both his fellow artists and the public. He described his work with great lucidity and sketched the formation of a painting (the way he works) from initial idea to completed work.

An interesting aspect of Gouws's work is the choice of subject matter his particular way of seeing things. A plug, close to the floor, once intrigued him when he was injured and was forced to stay on the floor for some time. Since then he has painted several plugs. An espresso coffeepot and other items wrapped in plastic on top of a cupboard, bottles on cupboards, a medicine cabinet, a bar of soap in a soap dish, empty steps at a swimming pool, drawn curtains with just a shimmer of light. He paints his own intimate and personal revelations.

He paints with great distinction. His technique is such that few artists will be able to match it. Each work takes many months to paint. There are never any lines in his paintings, background flows into object without a visual beginning or end.

Like the old masters Gouws's work is about light. Shapes rest against shapes or in space without an obvious division between space and object. His palette is consciously kept very limited. He paints reality, but his vision makes reality seem unreal and surreal. He creates moods through his almost poetic content. The fact that he is a philosophy teacher may help explain the clarity of intent of his work, as well as its contemplative quality. This is evident in the sometimes sombre but always meditative pathos of his paintings.

Gouws's emotional response to strange objects and places creates a similar emotional connection with the viewer.

Therefore I love his paintings. - Marianne Meijer




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