Claudia Gurwitz

Claudia Gurwitz

South Africa | 6 artworks for sale

Attention to detail is vital to me. I am a great observer of the detail of form and shapes in nature and in the human body. I have always observed the world through a micro setting, in an almost abstract way. I zone in on the small, unremarkable things in nature, an overlooked pine cone or a dried up, burnt out plant carcass.
Plant forms provide the detail that holds my attention. My paintings are not botanical surveys, nor intended to be photorealistic, or even entirely representational. The subject matter is almost irrelevant. My painting is about form and structure, about harmony and tension.

In my most recent work, I offer the viewer ‘windows’ into micro-landscapes. By zoning in, I expose the spaces surrounding the flowers: the non-subject. I present a magnified perspective of chunks of plant matter, reframing these as vital structures in their own right. Plunging into this unnoticed space, I break it down to reveal a world of texture and movement. I further break down these forms and capture the light between.
Through the exploration of collage, my image making becomes further abstracting. These slightly uncomfortable combinations of reconstructed landscapes jump the register. Cropping, isolating and reassembling redefine the subject.
Claudia Gurwitz was born in Cape Town. She is a yoga teacher & contemporary artist. Claudia attended Herzlia High School where she discovered her love of art under the tutelage of Jill Joubert. Following school, Claudia explored various mediums, studying ceramics at Barbara Jackson’s studio, mosaic with Lisa Finberg and printmaking at Ruth Prowse.
After completing 2 years towards a BAFA at Michaelis, UCT in 1996, Claudia left the University to do her Yoga teacher’s training and completed national certifications in various holistic disciplines. After her 9 year journey into the healing arts, Claudia returned to painting and a three-year mentorship under Julia Teale at Spencer Street Studio. Claudia has embraced working as a professional artist since 2007.

Selected Exhibitions:

2020
She, RK Contemporary
Subsurface Scatterings 2, curated by Clare Menck

2019
Solo Studios, Riebeek Kasteel
Stillness & Light, RK Contemporary, Riebeek Kasteel

2018
Vivid & Vibrant, Gallery One11, Cape Town
Solo Studios, Riebeek Kasteel
Irma Stern Wild Harvest Exhibition

2017
Solo Studios, Riebeek Kasteel
Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg

2016
Summertide Group Exhibition, RK Contemporary, Riebeek Kasteel
Solo Studios, Riebeek Kasteel

2014
Solo Exhibition:BURST, Claudia’s Wall, Riebeek Kasteel

2012
Solo Exhibition: ROOTED, UCT Irma Sern Museum, Cape Town
Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
I love the colour, loose brushstrokes and  boldness of the work of Mary Visser, Cathy Layzell and Jenny Parsons.

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

I love the work of Johan Pierneef. He had a wonderfully fresh approach to and perception of natural form. His sensitivity and consideration of structure inspires me.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
Gustav Klimt’s ‘Maiden’.

How did you get started? Did you always want to be an artist?
As a small child, I always had a strong resonance with art and creativity in all of it’s forms. My path was always clear.

What are some of the key themes you explore in your work?

My painting explores natural form.  Although it stems from the strength and potency of plant forms, it challenges the notion of what is Botanical Art. My focus is on form.

The Yoga discipline has been a significant part of my life for over 20 years. Bodies (the basis of yoga) are organic, and so are plants and nature. Both deal with structure and balance. Each artwork taps into the coexistence and interdependence of nature’s male and female forces. Each yoga posture relies on the inter-relationship of nature’s contrasting forces. In the same way, each plant is rooted within a perfectly balanced structure. My painting celebrates these male and female counterparts that both oppose and harmonize with one another.

What should people know about your art that they can’t tell from looking at it?

I paint ‘nothing’. In my most recent work, I present a magnified perspective of very random chunks of plant matter. I reframe the vital structures in their own right: ‘micro-landscapes’. By zoning in, I expose the unnoticed spaces surrounding the flowers: the non-subject.

Tell us more about your creative process.

I am always engaging with the natural environment, documenting the unexpected objects that hold my curiosity with my camera. I experience an almost overwhelming need to capture.
Through my more recent exploration of collage, my image making becomes further abstracting. These slightly uncomfortable combinations of reconstructed landscapes jump the register. Cropping, isolating and reassembling redefine the subject.

Do you believe an artist should use their platform to influence society? Why?
Artists play a significant role in society in that, through their creative process, they share their views and experiences. These views are often honest and refreshing takes on society and the world around us. I believe that the artist’s platform is therefore an important one, providing a balanced outlook that is accessible to all.

What drives you as an artist?

Attention to detail is vital to me.  I observe the world in an almost abstract way. In my work, I can zone in on the small, unremarkable things in nature and express them on canvas.
On careful observation through a micro setting, I expose the essence of the object; I reveal its core. The form is broken down into texture, contrasts and movement.

Do you have a favourite or most meaningful work?
This is ever-changing.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
My large solo show at the Irma Stern Museum.

What are your aspirations for the future?

To stay hooked. To never curb my enthusiasm to push forward and challenge my creativity.