Noeleen Kleve

Noeleen Kleve

South Africa | 12 artworks for sale

Life’s journey takes one along many roads – often with unexpected turns and distances to cover. The past few years have drawn me deeper into exploring the joys and many possibilities and ‘magical moments’ of printmaking. The intriguing intricacies of etching never cease to fascinate me - as the copper plate transforms from one state to another, and finally to the hand-inked print.

This metamorphosis relates to my visual expression of the liminal, in-between, transformative journey of life. In particular I am currently working with a theme of “Sensucht” - which means yearning or longing - as I respond to physical and spiritual spaces of yearning, as well as environmental concerns and issues close to my heart, especially the plight of the honeybee.

Since my work is evocative (rather than representative), I hope to stall the viewer into a moment of introspection...or a time of contemplation; where perhaps a thought might shift some direction towards positive transformation…wherever that might resonate for you.

Mostly my artmaking brings me great joy and I am grateful to be able to express myself through what I love doing, daily.

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” (Edgar Degas)
B. Visual Art (UNISA)

Born and raised in the beautiful Eastern Cape, I made the move to the Mother City after school to study Graphic Design at the Ruth Prowse School of Art, where I graduated in 1983. Experience in the graphic design and print industry led to freelance work, lecturing at the Austin Ellis Graphic Design School as well as establishing my own digital design and print business over the next two decades. 
My subsequent decision to divert from the commercial industry precipitated a wonderful exploration into a more tactile and conceptual approach. I completed a Bachelor of Visual Art with UNISA in 2013 – an enriching journey into process art-making. Since then I have exhibited frequently with a diversity of conceptual works ranging from video and installation, to painting and printmaking.

Paper works resonate most for me so I currently work primarily with etching and drawing, in addition to painting. My artwork reflects the visual expression of themes and concepts about which I am passionate, including environmental concerns, as well as social relationships and connections and the therapeutic qualities of art. I have participated in several group exhibitions nationally, including the Sasol New Signatures, Vuleka and Thami Mnyele merit awards, and am enjoying life as an independent artist and art educator working from my studio in Kommetjie.

Selected Exhibitions:

FEAR & LOSS - The Industrial Karoo, Jan Rupert Art Centre (Graaff Reinet)

TWO, SMITH Gallery (Cape Town)
Online Group exhibition with outoftheCUBE at Fried Contemporary Gallery (Pretoria)
Turbine Art Fair, Turbine Hall (Johannesburg)
The Red Data Pavilion, Public space (Venice, Italy)
Fear & Loss - The Industrial Karoo, Pretoria Art Museum (Pretoria)
Grande II, Rust-en-Vrede Gallery (Durbanville)


'The Industrial Karoo - Fear&Loss’, Oliewenhuis Kuns Museum (Bloemfontein)
‘Vernisage VII’, Lookout Gallery (Plettenberg Bay)
‘Music & Lyrics’, Rust-en-Vrede (Durbanville)


Misconstruction, outoftheCUBE (
Storyline: exploring narrative in visual art prints, Lovell Gallery (Cape Town)

‘Fear & Loss - 2052 Karoo’, KKNK (Oudsthoorn)
‘2052 Karoo - Fear & Loss’, National Arts Festival (Grahamstown)
‘Walk this earth alone’, Grande Provence Gallery (Franschhoek)
‘Dolerite - 2052 Karoo’, Prince Albert Festival (Prince Albert)
‘Unisa Graduate Exhibition’, Lovell Gallery (Cape Town)
‘Print’ exhibition, Youngblood Arts & Culture Development  (Cape Town)

‘Berg’ exhibition, Athol Fugard Festival (Nieu Bethesda)
‘Print’ exhibition, Rust-en-Vrede (Cape Town)
‘Animals in law and society: perspectives from Africa
and beyond’ exhibition, Unisa (Pretoria)
Unisa 3rd Year Group Exhibition, art.b (Bellville)

‘[In]sight’ exhibition, Rust-en-Vrede (Cape Town)
‘Print’ exhibition, These Four Walls (Cape Town)
‘Les Artistes’ exhibition, Aardvark Gallery (Cape
Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
There are numerous artists who I am currently inspired by…Diane Victor for her courage to interrogate difficult social issues, as well as her masterful draftsmanship; Lyndi Sales for her conceptual underpinning and the materiality in her work, Willem Boshoff for his creative discipline and commitment, Gerhard Marx for his exquisite process and technique; Paul Edmunds…William Kentridge…amongst others. I am excited by the contemporary resurgence of printmaking and the Nicholas Bourriaud’s theory of relational aesthetics.

Which South African deceased artist do you most admire and why?
I would probably say Cecil Skotnes, as I admire him greatly for his commitment and contribution to art education and growth in South African art.

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

I loved Lyndi Sales’s “1 in 11 000 000 chances” which I saw at the Bell Roberts Gallery in Cape Town in 2007 was a turning point for me. Her conceptual underpinning in the techniques and materials she used, as well as her exquisite craftsmanship, impacted and inspired my then newly-awakened interest in conceptual art and the visual metaphor. More recently I have had the privilege of visiting the14th and 15th Venice Biennale exhibitions which were enormously inspirational.

Where do you get your inspiration for your work?

I draw on my own life experiences as well as social and environmental issues which resonate for me. I enjoy exploring materiality and techniques that relate as visual metaphor, and so become part of the conversation communicated through my artworks.

Do you have any rituals or habits involving your art-making that you can tell us about?
Not really…art-making is whatever it feels like being in the moment…although I guess I’m most productive when I shut myself off from all communication and put on some classical music

What do you like most about being an artist?
I love the privilege of having the opportunity and freedom to express and share what I find significant and relevant through limitless visual possibilities.

How do you handle bad days when you experience artist's block?
Sometimes it works to just START! Without overthinking things, just doodle, do ‘blind drawings’, and play. That’s when things start to happen.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
Having the courage to complete my BVA as a ‘mature’ student…making finalist in national competitions…these things count on some level: but provoking the viewer’s response through my work, as well as igniting the creative spark – and then nurturing that growth through teaching and facilitating - are for me far more important triumphs.

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

As I said above, sharing my creativity in ways that provoke a response – whether a call to creativity or to some other action - these I feel are the purpose of this gift I’ve been blessed with!

What are your plans for the coming year?

Making relevant art; inspiring creativity through connecting with local communities, and teaching/facilitating classes. Aside from this – embracing life, love and the outdoors – and just being grateful for all I have.