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.
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.