• Marie-Adèle de Villiers

    Marie-Adèle de Villiers
    • Artist Statement
      • FOR THE SAKE OF TIME SPENT

        These works stem from identifying an underlying, brooding feeling of anxiety and disruption arising from the pull between two important factors. The first is my love for mountains and my subsequent stubborn desire to produce sublime drawings and paintings informed by mountains in an attempt to provide some kind of glorification for these phenomena, as well as to immerse myself in them when I cannot physically experience them. The second is being in the studio struggling with the expectation of having to produce work that is critical of this manner of representing mountains. Thinking critically about the representation of mountains involves the realization that landscape, and therefore my view and experience of mountains, is a construct of the mind, an idea that I now choose to play with.

        The drawings on exhibition are the result of my conscious decision to bring the aforementioned two factors together by embracing the unsettled space that is my studio practice. As such, they become very much about my working process in which I push and play with the tension between my control and lack thereof, between obsessively ordered structure and chaos, between the tame and the sublime, as well as with the tension between repulsion and attraction. I strictly and very deliberately control the elements and variables that go into making the drawings by molding them into a rigid structure/formula that I have to follow through in order to realize the drawings, yet the resulting drawings could seem fairly unsettled.
        The elements that I experiment with include distance, time, and disruption. More specifically, the variables that I have at my disposal within the studio space comprise the size and length of my brush, drawing on the floor versus drawing on the wall, and time. The element of distance is implied in the fact that I work in a studio using my photographs of mountains instead of working in nature directly from mountains. I then further play with this sense of distance by altering the distance of my drawing tool, moving from a very long to a very short drawing tool. I work with the elements of time and disruption by layering the lines of a general idea and of a detailed description, as well as those of blind contour and muscle memory as I stare fixedly at my drawing and the photograph of the mountain for the duration of my set structures of time.

        The idea is that this system/formula forces me to work tirelessly, to always produce, and to not waste time feeling anxious with nothing to show for it. In addition, the formula becomes a necessity in the working process, in that it serves as a manner of coping with my anxiety, as well as ironically intensifying it by drawing a greater deal of attention to time and measurement. Ultimately, the drawings embrace obsession; obsession with mountains, obsession with all the elements and decisions that constitute my process and obsession with layered line work.
    • Biography
      • B.A Fine Arts (University Of Stellenbosch)

        Selected Exhibitions:

        Gradex 2014 at The Stellenbosch University Visual Arts Department
        Graduate solo exhibition: for the sake of time spent
        GUS Gradex fundraising Auction
        Last Thursdays at the Stellenbosch Visual Arts Department group exhibition: “Volume l”
        Last Thursdays at the Stellenbosch Visual Arts Department group exhibition: “August”

        Awards
        2014
        Keith Dietrich Award – granted for completing your final year with distinction
        2012
        Golden Key International Honour Society Membership Achievement

        Corporate Collections:
        Pricewaterhouse Coopers
    • Interview
      • Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?

        As someone who is very adamant about the upkeep of drawing and painting, I always find it encouraging coming across artists who are working in, truly engaging with, and seriously pursuing these more traditional mediums (despite contemporary art trends). Some of the artists whose work I find exciting at present include Judith Mason, Virginia McKenny, Deborah Poynton, Jake Aikman, Elizabeth Gunter & Peter van Straten.


        Which South African deceased artist do you most admire and why?


        My pick would have to be amongst the old greats of South African landscape art. In singling out one, I choose Thomas Bowler for his exceptional landscape sketches and paintings, as well as for the contribution he made to the genre as a teacher and artist.


        Which exhibition that you have visited made the greatest impact on you and why?


        There are two that come to mind. The first is an exhibition by Judith Mason entitled A Prospect of Icons. I visited the exhibition in high school with my painting class and at the time it made me extremely excited about painting. I found her visual style and technique genuinely captivating and fascinating, which was very encouraging to me as a young art student. The second is a fairly recent exhibition by Deborah Poynton entitled Pictures, for the sublimity of her large paintings, as well as for the powerful and critical manner with which she deals with concepts such as landscape, the picturesque and the sublime.


        Where do you get your inspiration for your work?

        From many things that I cannot and do not want to put my finger on, but those that I can name include overwhelming natural phenomena, particularly mountains, creation and the ultimate Creator – that which is terrifying and powerfully beautiful at the same time. Such music is also a great aid.


        Do you have any rituals or habits involving your art-making that you can tell us about?

        Other than usually taking some time to put on music and deciding on an image to work with, my habits before I start working mostly involve ordering things in my studio space that I would need to work with, such as brushes, ink etc. In starting a new drawing, since it forms part of my concept, I evaluate some of the variables available to me within the studio space (the size and length of my brush, drawing on the floor versus drawing on the wall, and time) and mold them into a rigid formula (presented as the drawings’ titles). I start by deciding whether I am going to work on the floor or the wall and what the different lengths and sizes of my paintbrush will be, as well as the time period that I will work with each of these lengths and sizes. These then get worked into a pattern that control the progression and outcome of the drawing. This is something I become fairly obsessive about, so it often takes a great deal of time before I arrive at a system that makes sense as a pattern on a page, that makes sense in relation to the previous drawings’ systems and that complies to my personal, practical, process and studio based logic.


        What do you like most about being an artist?

        Creating.Being immersed in an art-making process – the tactility of it and the sensory qualities involved.
        Being able to experiment and play around with materials and mediums, creating a mess that I find visually interesting.The privilege of communicating and sharing visually.Celebrating a successful end product. I have a great respect for artistic thinking and expression in many forms so just feeling like I am in some way connected to that and a part of the arts is a massive encouragement.


        How do you handle bad days when you experience artist's block?

        If there is work to be done I need to work no matter how I am feeling. My work is largely about process and the time and labour involved in art making. The systems/formulas that I create for each drawing are intended to force me to push through, to work tirelessly, to always produce, and to not waste time feeling anxious with nothing to show for it. The idea is to draw attention to the realities of working, communicating every aspect of my working process.


        What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
        Completing my Fine Arts degree with distinction.

        Do you feel that you want to make a difference to the world or in people's lives? If yes, how?

        Yes, I might not exactly know how but I believe it starts with sincerely working with and through things that you feel strongly about, hoping that it might find a connection somewhere. I feel that through playing off images and concepts available in the art world and communicating their way of seeing and thinking, every artist has the opportunity to grow the great conversation that is art, and I would love to, in my own humble way, be part of the conversation. There are very definite things that I attempt to communicate through my work such as, amongst others, glorifying mountains and trying to shift focus slightly from the end product to the actual realities of the working process and the truth involved there. However, the prospect of even one person taking something from your work that you never intended is also a great motivation. On a further note, being a young artist as well as a strong Christian, I often feel that the two are misconstrued as opposites, since art has a rebellious association and Christianity a conservative one. Being passionate about both I hope to contribute to breaking that divide. I always find it very encouraging to come across people who are both serious artists as well as serious Christians and therefore I have a great desire to encourage in the same way.


        What are your plans for the coming year?


        To really invest in networking my work, to enter as many art competitions as I can and to make use of every opportunity to grow as an artist. I also have the Keith Dietrich Award group exhibition at Gus Gallery Stellenbosch in May/June to look forward to. Finally, I have a great desire to move to Cape Town and get more involved in the art industry as well as to find work to sustain myself as an artist.

  • Geumjeongsan Still I - Drawing by Marie-Adèle de Villiers MARIE-ADÈLE DE VILLIERS
    Geumjeongsan Still I
    Drawing / 76 x 56 cm
    R3 000
  • Jangsan Still I - Drawing by Marie-Adèle de Villiers MARIE-ADÈLE DE VILLIERS
    Jangsan Still I
    Drawing / 76 x 56 cm
    R3 000
  • A Therapeutic Line III - Drawing by Marie-Adèle de Villiers
    MARIE-ADÈLE DE VILLIERS
    A Therapeutic Line III
    Drawing / 149 x 97 cm
  • Drawing I - Extra Large Ink Drawing by Marie-Adèle de Villiers
    MARIE-ADÈLE DE VILLIERS
    Drawing I
    Extra Large Ink Drawing / 146 x 188 cm
  • Drawing II - Drawing by Marie-Adèle de Villiers
    MARIE-ADÈLE DE VILLIERS
    Drawing II
    Drawing / 146 x 195 cm
  • Sosyskloof Trail – Studio Version I - Drawing by Marie-Adèle de Villiers
    MARIE-ADÈLE DE VILLIERS
    Sosyskloof Trail – Studio Version I
    Drawing / 108 x 159 cm
  • Sosyskloof Trail – Hike Version - Extra Large Ink Drawing by Marie-Adèle de Villiers
    MARIE-ADÈLE DE VILLIERS
    Sosyskloof Trail – Hike Version
    Extra Large Ink Drawing / 108 x 159 cm
  • Drawing III - Extra Large Ink Drawing by Marie-Adèle de Villiers
    MARIE-ADÈLE DE VILLIERS
    Drawing III
    Extra Large Ink Drawing / 146 x 196 cm
  • Drawing IV - Extra Large Ink Drawing by Marie-Adèle de Villiers
    MARIE-ADÈLE DE VILLIERS
    Drawing IV
    Extra Large Ink Drawing / 146 x 196 cm
  • Drawing VI - Extra Large Ink Drawing by Marie-Adèle de Villiers
    MARIE-ADÈLE DE VILLIERS
    Drawing VI
    Extra Large Ink Drawing / 146 x 196 cm
  • Drawing V - Extra Large Ink Drawing by Marie-Adèle de Villiers
    MARIE-ADÈLE DE VILLIERS
    Drawing V
    Extra Large Ink Drawing / 146 x 196 cm
  • Close Contact - Large Ink Drawing by Marie-Adèle de Villiers
    MARIE-ADÈLE DE VILLIERS
    Close Contact
    Large Ink Drawing / 100 x 67 cm
  • Lights Out - Large Ink Drawing by Marie-Adèle de Villiers
    MARIE-ADÈLE DE VILLIERS
    Lights Out
    Large Ink Drawing / 100 x 70 cm
  • Number 5 of 5 in Drawing 10 - Extra Large Ink Drawing by Marie-Adèle de Villiers
    MARIE-ADÈLE DE VILLIERS
    Number 5 of 5 in Drawing 10
    Extra Large Ink Drawing / 1 x 1 cm
  • Drawing VIII - Extra Large Ink Drawing by Marie-Adèle de Villiers
    MARIE-ADÈLE DE VILLIERS
    Drawing VIII
    Extra Large Ink Drawing / 146 x 196 cm
  • Drawing VII - Extra Large Ink Drawing by Marie-Adèle de Villiers
    MARIE-ADÈLE DE VILLIERS
    Drawing VII
    Extra Large Ink Drawing / 146 x 186 cm
  • Drawing XI - Large Ink Drawing by Marie-Adèle de Villiers
    MARIE-ADÈLE DE VILLIERS
    Drawing XI
    Large Ink Drawing / 205 x 156 cm