WONDERLAND : a solo exhibition by Grace Kotze

A solo exhibition by Grace Kotze
Opening reception: 07 November 2019, 6.00pm to 8.00pm
Artist walkabout: 09 November 2019 at 11.00am

07 - 23 November 2019
50 Buitenkant Street, Cnr Roeland & Buitenkant Street, Cape Town.
Gallery hours: 10 - 5 Mon to Friday, 10 - 1 Saturdays
or by appointment
My exhibition “Wonderland“, is a body of acrylic paintings and bronze sculptures exploring emotion and ideas through the emotive quality of medium and image. The work is inspired by the myriad of incongruous visuals that come into play when city, humankind and nature co-exist. This vision is further fuelled by the book Alice in Wonderland (written by Lewis Carroll in 1865) with its nonsensical environments and improbable interactions among species. Looking at the world in this manner has allowed me to explore humour which is fused with compassion and curiosity.

I believe that humour is crucial for good mental health and have started celebrating it in my paintings. So often we only reserve paintings for “grand” topics or ones of great visual beauty but in Wonderland I have used it to explore the unexpected interactions and visuals in the city. The paintings are not literal depictions of city experiences but rather are inspired by it ethos.

My inspirational “Wonderland” is Durban, with its wonderful visuals around every corner. A few such inspirations are the bonsai strangler figs taking root out of cracks in walls, birds nesting in archways, feral cat houses and feeding stations next to the beach, escaped domestic rabbits living on verges, Vervet Monkeys regularly raiding houses, a park full of red duiker and mongeese living under structures. And then then there are the gutters and road sides that have rows of weeds growing through cracks that create the most beautiful gardens, optimistically flowering from almost no soil.

On top of these natural treasures is the discarded waste that cities generate, which so often become the treasures and income of others. The scrap metal plant down the road full of beautiful textures and colours, charity shops crammed with unwanted toys and books that make for artists treasures. It is impossible to stay uninspired when there is such visual activity and beauty surrounding me. I would be blind not to allow such a place to seep into my painting process, the city is never just a concrete jungle for humanity!

I also draw inspiration from the past, where the profound visual literacy of the old masters is awe inspiring. Artists are incredibly fortunate to have so many artists that have gone before who serve as teachers, a few of which I have referenced in this show. I have included replicas of works by Albrecht Dürer and Leonardo Da Vinci both of whom sought understanding in their visual exploration of the natural world.


“Wonderland“, like so much about experiencing life does not hold a clipped explanation but rather hints at my process of exploring my present home and emotional state.


Watch our film with Grace in the studio here >>>


Or see photos from the Opening Reception and the Artist Walkabout