As the end of Nicolaas Maritz’s exhibition, Mermaids and Mountains, draws to a close we will be taking a closer look at the some of the themes this exhibition explores.
A portion of the work features a child-like dreamy version of Table Mountain, depicted in his characteristically vivid and unusual colours.
It seems as if Nicolaas Maritz has always painted the mountain. Since his first Table Mountain ‘post-card’ paintings of 1988/89, he has often re-visited the subject, each time looking at it with a fresh eye, and starting from a different point of view. This time round he is less concerned with the actual topography of this large piece of Cape rock, than with the emotive atmosphere created by different artistic colourings.
In a quirky and wry body of work, his mermaid paintings are certainly the epitome of his special brand of humour and artistic discourse.
With these quirky new works Maritz seems to investigate the thin sardonic line that exists visually, between figurative confrontation, and overt painterly aggression. Three artistic species of sublime mermaid is depicted, rural Swartland Mermaids, sophisticated Cape Mermaids and evanescent Darling Pond Maids.
As is customary with Maritz, there is a disturbing undercurrent of wry humour, something ambivalently demonic and possibly unwholesome present, all of which lends a pressing ‘moral’ and ‘modern’ aspect to the otherwise febrile pictorial aesthetic.
Mountains and Mermaids ends this Sunday the 25th July. Some of Maritz’s work will be on display Clarke's Bookshop stand at the Cape Town Book Fair at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 23-25 July.