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JP Meyer


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Artist Bio

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


Solo Exhibitions

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


Joint Exhibitions

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



Nando’s, UK