Anyone fortunate enough to drive through the magnificent Seweweekspoort, which connects the Little Karoo with the Great Karoo and beyond, will immediately appreciate its designation as a UNESCO Word Heritage Site. The skillfully engineered gravel road twists and turn for 18 km with multiple river crossings, through dramatic geography and a pristine landscape.
And for those travelers who can only dream of traversing this somewhat remote pass, the artist, Johan Coetzee, with his series of oil paintings of the Poort, has succeeded in bringing to life its densely packed vegetation in a myriad of plump greens, azure blue skies and curving, folding mountains walling in the pass. His canvases burst with intricate detail, enticing the viewer to follow the curves of each brush stroke, again and again, discovering something new every time. One gets a definite sense of the African sun on your back, the shadows shortened by the heat of the day, and a light breeze inviting you to walk into each glorious painting.
Johan, well-known for his landscape and figurative work, travels to remote parts of South Africa (such as the Richtersveld and Kagga Kamma) and immerses himself in its atmosphere and uniqueness. He takes photographs to capture the composition of these landscapes and can spend 6 to 9 months to complete the series in his studio in Bellville, Cape Town. He has had numerous successful and solo exhibitions and although he is a prolific artist who works in oils, watercolours, etchings and also sculpts, he has found time to serve as Chairman of the Bellville branch of the South African Arts Association and as a member of the Board of the Rust & Vrede Gallery, selflessly mentoring other artists and promoting local art.
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