• Rene Johansen

    Rene Johansen
    • Artist Statement
      • My work deals with the ideas of place, space and belonging. My aim is to investigate the spirit of places in order to try understand the environment and our connection to it. I spend a lot of time looking at the world around me. Small things fascinate me but also grand narratives. Understanding a place is an attempt to find belonging in a time where my life has become split between Cape Town and the UK. I want to find presence in the landscape and understand relationships at play in the scene. Our connection to the natural world are often strained in modern society and keeping and developing these networks is vital. Observing the ecologies in a space is a way to realise my part in them.

        Blind drawings are always a starting paint for my ideas. It allows me to be an observer of space. I then try to reinterpret the environment with colour and form. My paintings range from fairly abstract to detailed. I enjoy this juxtaposition as life is often the same.
    • Biography
      • Bachelor of Visual Arts (University of South Africa)

        Selected Exhibitions:

        Solo exhibition: Curiosities of Wandering, Whow Studios, Durbanville, Cape Town
        Group exhibition: Salon 2017, AVA Gallery, Cape Town
        Group exhibition: Traces, Whow Studios, Durbanville Cape Town

        Sasol New Signatures group exhibition, Bellville Association of the Arts, Pretoria
    • Interview
      • Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
        I am interested in the way contemporary landscapes are developing in South Africa. New ways of looking at the land, incorporating colour is exciting and also non representational landscapes such as Paul Senyol works. I really enjoy the dreamy landscapes of Alexia Vogel and Zarah Cassim and find Jake Aikerman’s perspectives very inspiring.

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

        I love Walter Battiss’s work, the humour is fantastic. Unfortunately the spinoffs have become very commercial but looking back at his root ideas I find him very interesting. Fook Island takes escapism to a whole new level.

        If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
        Cy Twombly’s work enthrals me. Poems to the Sea is clever and unique way of looking at the world. They excite me every time I look at them.

        How did you get started? Did you always want to be an artist?

        I have always been an artist at heart. A brief excursion into the world of journalism cemented this idea for me. Making things is important to me.

        What are some of the key themes you explore in your work?
        The connections between humans and nature has always been of great interest to me. A sense of place, space and the relationships at play in life, and more and more often now days the spirit of a place and our connection to that.

        What inspired your latest body of work?

        James Elkins book Landscape Theory lead me down a path of looking at the in-between space where the earth and the sea connect, the littoral space. In-between spaces are interesting, often uncomfortable and present throughout ones life.

        Tell us more about your creative process.
        Wandering plays a bit part in my process. Looking at small unnoticed thing and trying to understand elements that are not on the surface. Blind drawings help me see things slowly and in great detail. This detail make me understand things in my own way, and from there I often reinterpret colour and form.
        What drives you as an artist?

        I am driven to create and interpret the world around me. Often my topics are quite abstract and painting allows me to share this with others. Picasso said, ‘painting is just another way of keeping a diary’.

        Do you have a favourite or most meaningful work?
        I have many favourite works, which extend beyond paintings but one painting that stands out to me is Jean-Michel Basquiat, Bird On Money, 1981. This piece allowed me to free up and realise my artistic voice can be free and messy.

        What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
        My graduate exhibition was a big deal for me. Through a very tough year I managed to produce over 30 meters of paintings. Also being a finalist and part of the Sasol New Signature exhibition.

        What are your aspirations for the future?

        My aims are to continue to make art. To push myself and create a presence in the art world.

  • Topographic View - Painting by Rene Johansen RENE JOHANSEN
    Topographic View
    Painting / 136 x 90 cm
    $1 140
  • Dunes - Painting by Rene Johansen RENE JOHANSEN
    Painting / 115 x 91 cm
    $1 110
  • Horizon - Painting by Rene Johansen RENE JOHANSEN
    Painting / 88 x 65 cm
  • Distant Land - Painting by Rene Johansen RENE JOHANSEN
    Distant Land
    Painting / 34 x 29 cm
  • Shore Break - Painting by Rene Johansen RENE JOHANSEN
    Shore Break
    Painting / 27 x 20 cm
  • Mouille Point - Painting by Rene Johansen RENE JOHANSEN
    Mouille Point
    Painting / 36 x 36 cm
  • Escaping Paradise - Painting by Rene Johansen
    Escaping Paradise
    Painting / 27 x 20 cm