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The initiation processes we experience throughout life are normally etched in our memory as milestones: sometimes pleasant, sometimes painful.
Like pieces in a puzzle, Meyer highlights specific initiation processes and rituals in the lives of young boys and men which find expression later on in life: life on the playground, military service or simple acceptance within a new circle of friends. It is a process that is both welcoming and unsettling in its departure from comfort zones.
In contrast to the notion of transitional processes as a necessary part of life, Meyer’s body of work highlights the tension between youthful innocence – individuality even – and the brutal transition towards a uniform group identity. One cannot help but lament the loss of innocence that is suffered during each ritual; like youthful feet being forced into rigid wooden clogs to impose uniformity.
Meyer’s work is however not entirely a tale of social suppression. He sits comfortably with the fact that individuals form part of groups, and that transitional phases such as “religious christening and catechism, the shaping of a toddler to become a scholar, the initiation of a child into adulthood, first sexual encounters, marriage, even student initiations all signify processes towards membership of a new subculture, gang, group or organization”.
Meyer’s new offering is further characterized by an interesting and significant shift in form. After years of exploring patterns and abstraction, he recently changed direction in pursuit of small monotone and almost photorealistic figure studies. Doop/Initiation seems to mark Meyer’s gradual movement towards a happy medium between these two poles; as is evident in his sparse but expressive and fearless use of paint, his opting for bigger canvasses and the use of largely non-local hues for visual impact. Detail is minimal, backgrounds dissolve into blurred layers of colour without compromising the photographic character of the immediately recognizable but hard to distinguish figures and compositions, which are little more than hazy shapes and features; an approach that works well with Meyer’s focus on loss of individuality.
Meyer’s play between detail and simplicity, brush stroke and camera lens colours his works – which often draw inspiration from photographic images from a bygone era – with a strong contemporary character. The use of these images as key reference is reminiscent of the visual language of the contemporary art produced by the so-called Cluj school of Romania; a movement which has been exhilarating the art world since the late eighties. He attributes his inspiration to contemporary Cluj heavyweight Adrian Ghenie but does not fail to mention the influence of Norwegian master Edvard Munch (1863-1944), who had to endure years’ of criticism about his work appearing incomplete at a time when it was not yet considered the viewer’s responsibility to complete a painting with his own story.
Doop/Initiate is Meyer’s sixth solo exhibition. Currently resident in Porterville, his works are often mounted at exhibitions throughout the country and form part of the collections of Hollard, Rand Merchant Bank, Sasol and Didata amongst others.
2015-now : Living and working in Porterville
2010-2015 : Living and working in Prince Albert
2006-2009 : Manager at Dharmagiri Hermitage, Underberg, KZN
2001-2005 : Living and working in Prince Albert
2000 : Travelled in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal
1999 : Obtained a Diploma of Fine Art (Painting) with distinction
1996-1999 : Full-time student at Foundation School of Art, CPT
1981-1999 : Flight Attendant with South African Airways
1979-1980 : Studied Social Work at UOFS
1978 : Matriculated
2016 : Doop / Initiate, Woordfees, Stellenbosch
2014 : Simulacrum, Breytenbach Gallery, Wellington
2010 : Exchange, Prince Albert Gallery, Prince Albert
2008 : Constant movement, Artspace@Granitas, Pretoria
2006 : Repetition, Cultivaria, Paarl
2003 : Reflection, AVA, Cape Town
2013 : SOIL, Grande Provence, Franschhoek with Katie Barnard-du Toit,
: Anthony Shapiro and Gregor Rohrig.
2005 : Stukkies, Artspace, JHB with Varenka Pascke and Cobus van Bosch
2004 : Drie Skilders, KKNK, Oudtshoorn with Adriaan van Zyl and Philip Badenhorst
2003 : Twee Skilders, KKNK, Oudtshoorn with Adriaan van Zyl
Selected Group Exhibitions
2017 : Instrumente van Vrede, Breytenbach Gallery, Wellington
2017 : To see the forest for the trees, US Museum, Stellenbosch
2016 : Summertide, Gallery @ Riebeek-Kasteel
2016 : Fear & Loss : Industrial Karoo, Khazimla, De Aar
2016 : Vernissage, MOOR Gallery, Franschhoek
2016 : The Salon, A.V.A., Cape Town
2016 : The Promise of Now, Gallery @Glen Carlou, Stellenbosch
2016 : The Grand, Rust en Vrede Gallery, Durbanville
2015 : Daaglikse Dosis, Clover Aardklop, Potchefstroom
2015 : Alfabeter, Woordfees, Stellenbosch
2015 : Industrial Karoo : Fear + Loss, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria
2014 : Flippen Vlambaar / Freekin Flammable, Prince Albert Art Festival
2014 : Burger 100 Year Exhibition, Artscape, Cape Town
2014 : Industrial Karoo : Fear + Loss, Oliewenhuis Museum, Bloemfontein
2013/14 : Panorama, D-Street Gallery, Stellenbosch
2013 : Moleskin Art + Design Project, KKNK, Oudtshoorn
2013 : Velvet, KKNK, Oudtshoorn
2012 : I am an African, Grande Provence, Franschhoek
2011 : New Identity, Grande Provence, Franschhoek
2010 : Bolero, An International Art Project on the move
2010 : Current Matters, Grande Provance, Franschhoek
2005 : Finding You, AVA, Cape Town
2004 : Brett Kebble Awards Exhibition, CTICC, Cape Town
2004 : Sasol New Signatures, PTA Art Gallery, Pretoria
2003 : Brett Kebble Awards Exhibition, CTICC, Cape Town
2003 : Krisp, Art.B, Bellville
Rand Merchant Bank