THINKER: Thoughts of flight.

SHOWCASING a visual diary of her work, South African artist Grace Kotze presents her exhibition, 13 years of painting: 2000-2013 at artSPACE Gallery, and it represents her painting output during that period.

In an interview with Tonight, Kotze said: “For me, painting is not about picture making, but rather depicting my emotions through the choice of images and paint application. Thus, all my visual choices are steered by my emotions.

“I don’t mean this as some haphazard emotional splurging, but rather using my intellect to make visual choices, such as choice of tone, mark making, cropping of image and choice of subject in order to represent my emotional state at the time.

“It may not appear so to the viewer, but the exhibition makes me feel very exposed in the manner in which it reveals my personal journey over the past years. Each painting takes me back to the physical and emotional space of conception.

“The poignancy they hold is due to the fact that the works are not produced from a position simply of liking an image, but the need to tackle my internal and external world through the process.”

According to the artist, the creative bug hit her when she was in her last year of school.

However, since 2005, she took it more seriously and curating and teaching art became her passion and career.

As an experienced teacher in the arts field, when asked what advice she would offer to young artists or students studying towards becoming full-time professionals in the field, Kotze said:

“The sooner you drop the ego, the better. Create from a point of self, but with a realisation that you are merely painting to learn, not to merely reproduce what you know.

“You must approach each work and exhibition from a point of fresh eyes that have so much to absorb. Become humble and collect all the visual and technical skills you can gather. Never feel like you know enough or have seen enough. When you feel you know everything, your work becomes complacent. Keep an authentic attitude and look deep into the process with the knowledge that resourceful eyes and a creative mind will allow you to put new lessons learnt into action, then you will create a work of substance. So create afresh each day, embrace each day and the creative challenge, jump wide-eyed into your work and you will be fine.

“Take those risks and you will never get tired of your chosen career. Embrace fear and the unknown,” she says.

For Kotze, those who attend the exhibition will experience a show of variety: “Although I have used very similar subjects throughout my career, I have portrayed them through very different eyes as I shift as a human being.

“The ebb and flow and ever-altering forms of the psyche is something that fascinates me and makes for interesting art making. The gallery holds a journey rather than a single chosen style or concern.”

• The exhibition runs until February 8 at artSPACE Gallery, 3 Millar Road, Stamford Hill. For more info, call 031 312 0793