I grew up in the Eastern Cape, in Port Elizabeth, a place of great disparities in the 50s and 60s. I escaped to Cape Town in the 70s and then to Johannesburg in the 80s. Many rites of passage later and many years of studying, working and travelling later, I am back in the Cape at the edge of the world.


There are multiple narratives in my life: I live as a teacher, artist, curator and mother but I love distractions from friends and family. Sometimes things overlap a bit chaotically, creating a palimpsest of images: heroes, villains, wind and sea all jostle for centre stage.  Sometimes I just garden or walk my dog on the beach. Sometimes, to relax, I just curate the furniture in my house.


My work is mostly  made in response to events, encounters, sensations, in my own life. I paint in a visceral, fairly intuitive way, like a sort of diary; often as a series of thoughts, impulses and feelings, rather than as carefully thought out concepts planned from beginning to end. I am more concerned with my internal landscape which I try and translate in an intuitive way. There is a visual order that seems to emerge where I can alter my own invisible reality. Images emerge, get covered up and then new narratives appear.


My paintings are a bit like me: sometimes impulsive, colourful, expressive and direct; other times, withholding, enigmatic, introspective and restless. Always its about the language of communication. When i draw I'm just exploring the medium and trying to develop a narrative, but when I attempt printmaking such as etching, I need to be less impulsive and more considered in my approach. It’s a much more laborious way of working than painting for me, but I like the meditative language. It also affords me the chance to build my images with a variety of marks and scribbles. I’m still keeping the abstraction, but with a trace of an image or something identifiable.

© 2019 Sue Kaplan