Adele Potgieter

Adele Potgieter

South Africa | 7 artworks for sale

I have a strong affinity for pattern, sentimental objects, botanical specimens, insects, birdlife and found items such as interesting seed pods, feathers and sculls. Still life painting is the genre where my ideas and findings enjoy full expression. For me there is poetry in exploring how objects relate and create interesting visual connections when placed in proximity to each other. My camera is an important tool in this process and, over time, I’ve accumulated a library of digital photographs. With the aid of digital tools and collage, I’m able to generate endless new compositions.
In the past my works were more traditional in the sense that I tried to render a complete three-dimensional space. A few years ago, I started using flat lay photography and Trompe-l'oeil style compositions, thereby creating a more contemporary feel in my work.
My current body of work is focused on the mirroring of my digital collages. I had been pondering the process for quite some time, but the feelings of impending chaos and uncertainty brought about by the pandemic prompted me into action. In the new works there is a strong reference to Rorschach cards, which are traditionally used by psychiatrists to determine the underlying psychological state of a patient. My aim was to reverse its often grim associations, where the mirrored image becomes a manifestation of all the things I yearn for: hope, focus, growth, healing, and grace.
The final works executed in oil on canvas act as little tributes to life, renewal, growth and abundance.

Adele Potgieter embarked on her art career in 2002, when she was employed by Globe Gallery Art Consultants in Pretoria. Here she learned many aspects of the industry, ranging from the framing, presentation and exhibition of artworks to the valuation, marketing, sale and insurance of artworks. Adele also gained insight and knowledge of the workings of the secondary art market, pertaining specifically to the re-sale of South African old masters, as well as established contemporary artists at auction and by private treaty. While working in this environment, she acquired considerable knowledge of South African art history, while keeping up to date with developments in the contemporary market.

In 2005, Adele enrolled part-time for the BA Visual Arts Degree at the University of South Africa. Although she completed most of her course requirements, her qualification remains incomplete. Having an affinity for oil paint as medium, Adele first received private tutoring in painting from Elizabeth Riding in 2003 and later, from 2009-2016, received technical and conceptual guidance from Johan Conradie at Johan Conradie Art Academy.

In early 2014, Adele decided to pursue painting full time. Since then, she has participated in numerous notable group exhibitions and competitions. With a strong focus on realism, she explores the relationship between past & present as well as external and internal realities.

Adele lives and works in Pretoria, South Africa.
Solo Exhibitions:

2020: Association of Art Pretoria: Transfigure
2017: University of Stellenbosch Woordfees: Renew/Hernu

Selected Group Exhibitions:

Group Exhibition, Rust-en-Vrede Gallery: Rust-en-vrede Rescue
Group Exhibition, Rust-en-Vrede Gallery: Women who read are dangerous
Group Exhibition, Association of Art Pretoria: The Feast of Saint Valentine

Group Exhibition, Art on Avenues: Land & Sea
Group Exhibition, Trent Gallery: SALT
Group Exhibition, Art on Avenues: Secret Garden
Group Exhibition, AVA Gallery: Portrait 100
Group Exhibition, Association of Art Pretoria: Awesome Womxn
Group Exhibition, Secret Art Society: For the Birds
Group Exhibition, Trent Gallery: Ophelia

Group Exhibition, Association of Art Pretoria: Wings
Group Exhibition, Showroom Art Gallery: Christmas Exhibition
Group Exhibition, Showroom Art Gallery: Flower Market
Group Exhibition, Trent Gallery: Indestructible
Group Exhibition, Rust-en-Vrede Gallery: The Grand IV
Group Exhibition, Liebrecht Gallery: This is not an Exhibition | A Tribute to Rene Magritte
Group Exhibition, Trent Gallery: Assumption
Group Exhibition, Showroom Art Gallery: Cape Culture
Group Exhibition, Pretoria Art Museum: Unfolding Fibre
Group Exhibition, Artbox Gallery: FAS (For Art’s Sake)
Group Exhibition, University of Stellenbosch Woordfees: Kennis
Group Exhibition, Showroom Art Gallery: Works on paper
Group Exhibition, Carol Lee Fine Art / Art@First: Outlook
Group Exhibition, Rust-en-Vrede Gallery: The truth about rabbits

Group Exhibition, Carol Lee Fine Art / Upstairs@Bamboo: Intersection
Group Exhibition, Liebrecht Art Gallery: A stream of consciousness
Group Exhibition, Showroom Art Gallery: Faces/Figures
Group Exhibition, Daniel Kok Gallery, Hermanus: Noir
Group Exhibition, Trent Gallery: Common Ground
Group Exhibition, Carol Lee Fine Art / Upstairs@Bamboo: Platform
Group Exhibition, Showroom Art Gallery: Greyscale
Group Exhibition, Showroom Art Gallery: Say it with flowers

Group Exhibition, Trent Gallery: Badly drawn porn done exquisitely
Group Exhibition, Liebrecht Art Gallery: A penny for your thoughts | The still life experience
Group Exhibition, Trent Gallery: Birds
Group Exhibition, Art Lovers 1932: Nostalgia
Group Exhibition, Equus Gallery: Lords of Winter
Group Exhibition, Carol Lee Fine Art / Upstairs@Bamboo: Commune
Group Exhibition, Equus Gallery: Four Horsemen

Group Exhibition, Carol Lee Fine Art / Upstairs@Bamboo: Manifesto
Group Exhibition, Pretoria Association of Arts: Altered Realities
Group Exhibition, Art Lovers 1932: Suspended Animation
Group Exhibition, Art Lovers 1932: 2015 Competition Finalists
Group Exhibition, Equus Gallery, Winter is coming
Group Exhibition, Aleit & IS Art Gallery: The beauty around us

Group Exhibition, IS Art Gallery: Summer show
Group Exhibition, Carol Lee Fine Art / Upstairs@Bamboo:Anthology
Turbine Art Fair, Art Source South Africa
Group Exhibition, Trent Art Gallery: Viva Vanitas
Group Exhibition, Art Lovers 1932: Erotica – A different view
Group Exhibition, Johans Borman Fine Art: Still
Group Exhibition, November 2013, UNISA Art Gallery: UNISA Visual Art Graduate Exhibition

Group Exhibition, Trent Art Gallery with Leanie Mentz
Group Exhibition, Skukan Gallery: Ricochet: The space between
Group Exhibition, Fried Contemporary Art Gallery: Autumn Art Fair

Group Exhibition, Art Lovers 1932 Gallery: First Annual Miniature Exhibition
Group Exhibition, UNISA Art Gallery: Selected Third year work to form part of the UNISA Visual Art Graduate Exhibition

Group Exhibition, Trent Art Gallery: Self-portrait
Group Exhibition, Pretoria Association of Arts: Baroque: Historical Incarnations

Group Exhibition, Pretoria Art Museum: Sasol New Signatures
Group Exhibition, Pretoria Association of Arts: Van Eyck & the Ghent Altarpiece

Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
Artworks created with the aid of digital tools have recently gained quite a bit of traction in the market. Artists like Balekane Legoabe and Nic de Jesus are doing interesting, relevant and visually satisfying work that is surprisingly affordable. It also connects seamlessly with other contemporary art forms such as video and animation.

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

South Africa has a rich art history with a number of revered artists like JH Pierneef, Gerard Sekoto, Irma Stern, etc. I have the utmost respect and admiration for their contributions, but if forced to choose only one, it will have to be Helen Martins: She made her own rules and lived her life accordingly. She made her art because she felt compelled to do so. She was never concerned with acclaim or commercial success, which is evident in the strangeness of some of her pieces. In my opinion she was singular and unashamedly authentic.  

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?

A seascape by Jake Aikman.

Pick three artists who you would be honored to exhibit with – and why?

Willemien de Villiers, Jaco Benade and Nina Torr -  just because I love their work.

How did you get started? Did you always want to be an artist?
I always wanted to be an artist, or work in a related field. I got started by working as an assistant at a small gallery and framer in Pretoria. When I turned 30, I realized that it is now or never and so my artistic journey began.

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

All my works incorporate objects and/or images of objects that are near and dear to me. With a strong focus on realism, I explore the relationship between past and present as well as internal and external realities.

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

Each object depicted has sentimental value and is used specifically for its symbolic or metaphoric meaning.

Tell us more about your creative process.

I have amassed a wealth of digital images of interesting objects, patterns, designs and specimens. I use these to create digital collages and/or compositions which are then rendered in oil on either wood or canvas. The digital tools offer me the freedom to create endless possibilities while the process of painting satisfies the physical aspects of art-making.

Do you believe an artist should use their platform to influence society? Why?

I believe that art embodies the spirit of a specific time and place. I also believe that artists feel compelled to create because they have something to express that they cannot communicate in words. To exert influence on society, or to comment on it, or to merely reflect on their own experience is up to the individual artist.

Do you have a favourite or most meaningful work?

My own:
Early morning contemplation is a work I completed in 2014. It is a portrait of my beloved Gherard and was originally meant to be my entry for the first Sanlam Portrait Award in 2013. I didn’t complete the work in time, but I managed to capture his complexity and contemplative nature, which makes the work so meaningful to me. It is one of the few works I have kept for myself.
Another Artist:
I was fortunate to visit the Venice Biennale in 2011. While the whole experience was unforgettable, there is one installation that I can recall vividly as if it were yesterday:
Jan Fabre’s Pieta was an installation of 5 large marble sculptures, carefully placed on a platform that was completely covered in gold leaf. To interact with the installation, one had to wear the special felt slippers that were provided. Being immersed in work was in itself a religious experience. On this occasion the artwork moved me physically, psychologically and spiritually. I am still in awe.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

My greatest achievement is to be able to paint full time. It really is a blessing to be able to pour most of my energy into my creative pursuits. Being an artist is very much a state of mind and I would be lost without the time to immerse myself in it.

What are your aspirations for the future?

I hope to hone my skills, meet and collaborate with new artists and to expand my audience.