JP MEYER

Artist's Statement

In my mid-forties I noticed how the way in which I saw myself, my life and the world was changing. The resources which I had access to for most of my life, like optimism, enthusiasm, energy/health/strength etc, were no longer available on demand. I became very aware of my own mortality.

 

Although I had been studying eastern philosophy for a number of years, it became an even more important aspect of my life. In a Zen monastery in upstate New York I learnt how to use mark-making (art) as a valuable tool for self-investigation and contemplation. My work naturally changed from figurative to abstract as I became more interested in serialization and process rather than form.

 

The Mystery remains, but I have learnt a lot about my own consciousness over the past few years. I have a clearer understanding of how we create our personal ideology and how either limiting or enlightening that worldview can be.

 

A trip to Australia in 2009 and an encounter with aboriginal artists and their work convinced me to move back to the Karoo, after living in a Buddhist Hermitage for three years. The Karoo region of Southern Africa is one of the richest archaeological areas of the world. I have since become fascinated by the relationship that exists between landscape and humans; how each impacts on the other; how geology and palaeontology can illuminate the mysteries of human evolution.

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Art, in my opinion, is a very effective vehicle for expression, narration, social commentary etc., but cannot dictate a given meaning. Meaning comes primarily through personal effort, involvement and experience. However, in an increasingly conceptual world, I feel that the mere act of seeing and looking can inspire an internal response that can have a profound effect on the viewer. I feel this when I see earth patterns and fractals taken from outer space, images under a microscope, the mosaics of the Alhambra, stone gardens of Japan, Rothko's Seagram works....

 

After studying social work at the University of the Orange Free State, J P Meyer enrolled at the Foundation School of Art in Cape Town, where he obtained a Diploma in Fine Art in the late 1990s. His earlier work was in the realist tradition, but, after extensive travels in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal, his work shifted to embrace the aesthetics of abstraction.

 

He is primarily concerned with the ritual of mark-making and the relationship between consciousness and the creative process. He is engrossed with the omnipresence of patterns, cycles, fractals and repetition in the natural world, and within his own person and within his own persona.

 

The floating grids and undulating thin parallel lines on the surface of his work are not what they seem: the underlying colour on which blocks and broad lines have been superimposed creates this optical effect.

 

Consequently, each work is a labour-intensive and meditative process of patiently painting the small squares or bands of colour over a foundation colour to achieve a grid in reverse or the negative of parallel lines. His work is a contemporary interpretation on the many variants of abstraction and Op-Art of the 1950s and 1960s that also focused on the medium and the making of art, rather than on naturalistic imagery.

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