Review: Frederike Stokhuyzen at the Cape Gallery

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frederike_stokhuyzen134lrPThe collection of artworks currently on exhibition at the small, snug gallery in the heart of Cape Town were inspired by a painting trip that artist Frederike Stokhuyzen took last year to the Kgalagadi and Namibia.  The trip resulted in some magnificent paintings of the famous red dunes at Sossusvlei, as well as wildlife scenes depicting springbok, buffalo and gemsbok amongst the desert and grasslands.

Known throughout SA and abroad for her extraordinarily atmospheric wildlife and landscape paintings, Stokhuyzen, using her typical palette knife technique, captures the beauty of what she sees with an exceptional ability to highlight the colours, shapes and lines found in nature.  Her paintings are astonishing interpretations, skillfully extracting the patterns that encompass the essence  of the scene in front of her. The result is a truly fantastic visual feast of scintillating colours and symmetrical, recurring natural patterns, which radiate loudly with life, joy and the artist’s apparent love for the natural world.

The exhibition includes Stokhuyzen’s original watercolour drawings, which are fascinating to relate to her impressionist final artworks, painted in oil on canvas.  If the watercolour sketches can be said to be a descriptive summary of what Stokhuyzen sees before her, the oil paintings could be described as beautiful poems that are born out of their inspiration.

A highlight of the exhibition, Damaraland Mountains, Namibia, is a perfect example of Stokhuysen’s ability to capture natural patterns, as if they visually mirror the same intrinsic rhythm, and her magnificent skill in identifying repetitive form, creating an echo of natural shapes and lines, starting within the tree branches and extending to the mountains in the background.

Stokhuyzen’s paintings are a remarkable and delightful ode to the artist’s deep love of African nature.

Marie Stinnes

Frederike Stokhuyzen at the Cape Gallery runs from 1 to 21 March 2015.

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