Bevan de Wet

Bevan de Wet (b.1985) is an artist and printmaker based in Johannesburg. He graduated with a BFA with distinction from Rhodes University in 2008. From 2011-2016, de Wet worked at the Artist Proof Studio in Johannesburg as a professional print technician, collaborator, and academic facilitator. In 2016 he founded his own print studio called Eleven Editions, where he also collaborates with other artists and publishes various projects. De Wet regularly works with Phumani Archive Mill, a paper-making research unit at the University of Johannesburg, where he produces his handmade paper work. De Wet works primarily with paper: with a focus on etching, relief printing, papermaking, drawing and installation.

De Wet’s practice centres around our increased sense of alienation from the natural environment and the spaces we inhabit, drawing attention to the fragmented nature of our current engagement with the world through digital interfaces. Concerns around displacement and belonging have lead to a fascination with boundaries, whether biological, geographical and virtual, and how these boundaries are permeable and shifting. De Wet explores the tensions between the organic and the constructed world, from surface and the subdermal networks, to the structures imposed on the landscape.

De Wet has exhibited extensively, both locally and internationally, held 5 solo exhibitions including The Other Landscape (Lizamore Gallery, 2019), Drawing on Entropy (Hazard Gallery, 2018), New Forms: A Study of Broken Parallels (Candice Berman Gallery, 2017), and was included in Origins & Trajectories (Paris, 2016); the International Printmaking Alliance Exhibition (China 2016-17) amongst others. He has exhibited numerously on the Turbine Art Fair, FNB Joburg Art Fair, and the CT Art Fair. The artist’s work is held in a number of private and public collections including Amazon, The Wits Art Museum, Nirox Foundation, the South African Embassy in Washington DC, Art Bank Collection South Africa, MOAD Museum of African Design, Exxaro, and the Ahmanson Foundation in Los Angeles.


De Wet’s awards include: the Ampersand Foundation Fellowship (New York residency 2013); the Thami Mnyele Art on Paper award 2013; the ABSA L’Atelier Merit Award 2014 (Sylt Foundation residency, Germany); the ImpAct Award for Visual Art from the Arts and Culture Trust 2014; and the Cill Rialaig Artists Residency in Ireland 2017. 

Artist Statement_Volitant / Volatile

Exploring the unfamiliar is key to scientific discovery, observing the patterns and movements of nature from microscopic particles to the vast geographic planes of land, sea and ice. Our fascination with exploration beyond our planet generates new excitement of the unknown. Seeing overviews of these spaces helps us to make sense of them, mapping out our fragmented view of the physical world(s) and the various forces at play.

This series of prints, drawings, collages and handmade paper works aim to embrace the anticipation of discovery and the uncertainty of change. Working with a combination of structure and chance, and using deconstructed elements of other works, allows for a vulnerable space that evokes a sense of estrangement and otherworldliness. Interleaved strips and strands of organic fibre start to feel like biomorphic sequences on a macro scale, leaning into the abstract and ephemeral quality. The new surfaces allude to imaginary layers of strata below the earths surface, yet also echoing the formalist structures we impose on the landscape.

Since mapping has a history of colonialism, and of plotting uncharteredspace, this practice of construction and deconstruction attempts to reverse and re-imagine, in a sense unoccupying space. Images are dissected and collapsed into singular but complex platforms, fragments of paper and colour become exploded views of imaginary landscapes, ephemeral moments of flight, and begin to reference space junk and other forms of floating detritus.

This explorative relationship to paper as material relates on a spiritual or subconscious level to what is intangible. Through this process I am searching for some kind of balance and repetitive pattern as found in nature, while exploring the gentle tension between organic forms and the structural impact we have on the environment. These works embrace chance to highlight the ephemeral cycle of creation and disintegration, and highlight the fragmented nature of our engagement with space and our connection to the world.

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