Fine artist Chloe Obermeyer

Q&A with Gallery Award Finalist: CHLOE OBERMEYER

We asked the Ten Gallery Award Finalists some questions to help you get to know them as we prepare for the special Group Exhibition at StateoftheART’s Cape Town gallery from 06 – 22nd September 2018 and the final round of judging. The winner will be awarded a R10 000 cash prize and a solo exhibition with the gallery in 2019.

See more about the Gallery Award here.


Tell us about yourself. Where are you based and where do you get your inspiration for your work?
I’m originally from George but I studied in Cape Town and now I live and work here. I graduated from Michaelis School of Fine Art in 2014. It was at Michaelis that I learned about the cyanotype process and exploring this process has really driven my art making since graduating. I’m fascinated by nature and the natural world, especially the ocean. Living in a coastal city like Cape Town is very stimulating for my work and I currently get lots of ideas from the cities coastline. I am also a volunteer at the Two Oceans Aquarium and this experience also greatly influences my work.
Do you have any rituals or habits involving your art-making that you can tell us about?
I can’t think of any specific rituals or habits. I get ideas for artworks pretty much at random at any point of any given day. I remember ideas easily so I don’t necessarily need to document them in any way but I do enjoy making small compositional planning’s of ideas for a work. I take lots of photos and also collect lots of images from magazines like National Geographic and these often lead to the basis of many works. I also tend to talk to my friends and roommates about my art ideas and share my ‘work in process’ with them. None of them are artists but I have found that people in other fields often give me some of the best input.
Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
There are some local artists whose work I really enjoy. Natasha Norman, Katrine Claassens, Andrew Sutherland and Kirsten Beets come to mind.
How is your work relevant in a South African context? And globally? 
I’d say it is relevant in a South African context as it is directly influenced by South Africa’s abundance of natural and environmental splendor. South Africa’s coast, from which most of my works are influenced, is a very special ecological environment due to the fact that we have two oceans and a warm and cold current that meet. On a global level, the ocean and concerns for its well-being are very prevalent topics and art that is fascinated by the ocean’s wondrous beauty and aware of its environmental significance is therefore relevant.
What do you think South African artists can contribute to the global art market?
I would like to think we can offer a unique perspective of life in South Africa and the things that concern us as well as the things that inspire, fascinate and even amuse us.
What do you think of the StateoftheART Gallery Award as a platform for emerging artists in South Africa?
It’s great to have a platform that encourages submissions and really makes emerging artists think about what it is about their work that not only makes it strong but also makes it a cohesive whole. The StateoftheART Gallery Award explained its interest in a signature look or mark of sorts and this allows one to look at their work and think about what it is, be it visually or conceptually, that drives their practice and unites their work as a whole. I feel this is very important and to provide a platform that will then promote and bring viewers to an artist’s work is really very exciting.
How do you think selling art online and marketing through social media is valuable?
I think in the way the world currently operates it is crucial. People spend so much time online and an online or social media presence offers so many opportunities to be seen. It is also exciting in that it open ones work to people who are not even on the same continent.
How do you feel about the upcoming group exhibition and the other shortlisted finalists’ works? 
I’m really excited and am so keen to see all our work together in a curated exhibition. I’ve looked at the other finalists’ work and am so pleased to be exhibiting alongside such greatly talented artists with different styles and interests. I think the exhibition will look awesome.
Do you have any plans for the coming year? 
I am currently doing a Masters in Visual Art through Unisa and that will continue into next year, which I am very excited about. I will also continue working on and promoting the new body of work that I am currently creating.  This award has added even more motivation for me to really dive into this new body of works as some of them have been selected for the exhibition. This gives me extra confidence that I’m heading in an exciting direction. I also plan to maybe start looking at ways of teaching cyanotype classes.

If you win the Gallery Award, tell us about what you have in mind for your solo exhibition in 2019?
I would like to have an exhibition that is really local to Cape Town in subject matter, as my submitted works are. I have recently become fascinated by some old photographs of Cape Town that show how it looked before its shoreline was altered.  Woodstock was still a beach, there was a jetty at the end of Adderley Street and Cape Town had a beautiful pier, remnants of which I believe were recently discovered under the CTICC. I would find it very interesting to have an imaginative body of work that explores how the fauna and flora of Cape Town could have been: what streets would be partly or mostly submerged in water? What animals might have lived there? It would also be interesting to play with new and old images of the cities coast, or even create imagined ones.

Chloe is a visual artist currently based in Cape Town. She graduated from Michaelis School of Fine Art in 2014 and is currently doing her Masters of Visual Arts through Unisa. Her artistic practice is primarily interested in nature and the natural world. She is intrigued by nature’s ability to perplex scientific conclusions and its tendency to inspire human imagination and fiction. Currently, her works have become a means of navigating her interest in Southern Africa’s oceans and coastlines. She often touches on ideas surrounding scientific discovery, wonder and environmental concern. Using what she has at her disposal, her works often evolve and materialize from man-made and organic debris and matter that she collects within in her surroundings. She is a collector and has amassed a plethora of articles, books and visual resources which aid in her creative process. For the past few years, she has immersed herself in the alternative photographic process of cyanotype. Recently, she has started to incorporate other mediums, such as inks and pigments, within her prints.