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TAXI-013: DIANE VICTOR (article first published : 2008-04-7)

Number 13 in the Taxi series published by David Krut Publishing focuses on the work of South African artist Diane Victor. Written by art historians Elizabeth Rankin and Karen von Veh, this book is a most appropriate choice in the Taxi Book series.

Taxi Art books are published with the aim of broadening awareness about South African contemporary art and to create a historical archive.

Diane Victor graduated with distinction from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1988 and that same year was awarded with the Volkskas Atelier Award (now taken over by Absa), which gave her a chance to study in Paris for six months. During her stay she worked with printers of international standards and became one of South Africa’s finest print makers. Her drawings are exquisite whether she uses pencil, pen or even smoke. What is most significant about her work is her choice of subject matter. Growing up during the apartheid years had a profound and lasting influence on her work which often deals with social and political inequalities, violence, racial disturbances. This creates deep emotions and feelings of unease which can in some cases cause a negative response.

Most of her work is done in black and white expressing severity and strength and many images are gruesome. However, for this artist - inspiration is only the beginning of the inkling of the genesis of work which she describes as "a kind of journey through the self". As she works, her ideas change. She may start off with something small and graspable but then the drawing takes hold of her and she often does not know how it will end.

If one were to think of Victor’s work in the arena of contemporary art today, the atmosphere ranges from personal conflict to the larger contradictions of contemporary culture. There is great liveliness in the local current art scene that relates back to the freedom and diversity enjoyed by all South African artists today. Victor’s work is extensively recognised and admired in South Africa as well as overseas because the work definitely has an international flavour.

Each taxi book is complemented with an educational supplement which serves as a teaching and resource tool for art teachers and educators. Diane Victor’s supplement is written by Jacki McInnes and Lara Koseff and art lecturers and high school teachers will find this a real bonus. Readers, art students and viewers of Victor’s work can try to come to grips with the depth of her art by doing the worksheets of representations of self; the art of embossing; intertextuality in the work of Diane Victor and finally material and metaphor. Not only do readers understand the work better, they also learn more about all the different techniques Victor uses in making her work.

Diane Victor is an artist whose work is made with integrity and imagination providing a framework for her total oeuvre.

TAXI-013 is published by David Krut and funded by the National Arts Council of South Africa, the Arts and Culture Trust and David Krut Arts Resource. It is available from David Krut Arts and Bookstore at 140 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg. More information on 011 880 4242. - Marianne Meijer




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