Thelma Mort

Thelma Mort studied painting at the University of KwaZulu Natal.  On returning to Cape Town, she found the support, advice and critique of other artists invaluable. She has been working with some of the artists on this exhibition for a couple of decades. She has had solo and group shows, with them and others, and shared studios, worked on projects.  The dialogue and communication between artists, the camaraderie and caring, understanding and enrichment is incredibly important to her.


Artist’s statement

I try to connect painting and drawing. I often draw in paint, in watercolour pencils for example, where a line can dissolve in wetness becoming a colour plane, and be found again, wait for it to dry and work on it further, add another layer of paint or another medium. And so it goes on.  I work with brushes and scratchy pencils, soft dissolving watercolour to harsh ball point, and keep moving between these different media and applications. There is often an almost textual weaving process over the surface, and the adding of paint and/or collage additions often bolster the surface for the next working into the surface. Even a tiny work might take hours because of this intense surface working. I will often return to themes repeatedly, so there is an iterative process on another level.


I liken the process of art marking to walking out into a new place, rather like going for a walk, and these marks, scratches, lines, brushstrokes, touchings of the surface in different media are like a trail or path cut through a landscape. And I think I want the viewer to have a new experience, as you would while walking out into a landscape…a kind of thinking time as one’s eye meanders over the surface.


Many of these works are concerned with the way people interact with nature through depictions of rivers and landscapes. These are works about how the mountains can be very vast and overwhelming, or a little opening in the trees quite magical, or how a natural phenomenon like a sunset can absorb one, or briefly dominate even an urban landscape.