Passion unleashed through artwork
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Durban - For an escape to wide open places, Durban artist Scott Bredin’s new exhibition Yearning, Grief and Hope includes landscapes he painted during the lockdown period.
With the exhibition opening on Wednesday, at the Elizabeth Gordon Gallery in Morningside, Bredin said: “The lockdown was unprecedented in our lives. I think we’ll be as surprised by the permanent changes as a result.
“Being able to go out after the hard lockdown was that much sweeter when it was given back to us. I think we go into the world with fresh eyes and are grateful for what we can see and do,” he said.
Although Bredin works in the IT industry, he has been painting for 30 years, having studied art at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, completing a Master’s in fine arts (cum laude).
His work, including city, urban and rural landscapes, has been featured in many exhibitions over the years, and is found in numerous corporate and public collections in South Africa,
Switzerland, Canada and the UK, including the Tatham Art Gallery.
“With my ‘day job’, I’ve done a lot of travelling and my subject matter can be anywhere from a mine in the Congo, to the Midlands where I grew up in Ixopo,” said Bredin, adding that he often goes back to favourite places, such as the Umgeni Valley.
His work sees him spending a lot of time in Queensland, Australia.
“I really enjoy places I know and I live around the corner from the Umgeni Valley – and return to it again and again. The Queensland landscape looks similar to KwaZulu-Natal, but up close it’s very different.
“Being able to draw a place makes me feel more at home in that place.
“I’ve spent thousands of hours sitting outside drawing, which is my favourite way of working and, if I hadn’t done those hours, I wouldn’t expect to be able to do a painting from a photo,” he said, although he will also take photographs of a landscape if he doesn’t have the available time for drawing.
He said his paintings were his interpretation of the landscape.
“I don’t just paint because it’s there, I’m not afraid of distorting what I am looking at to make a painting more powerful or meaningful,” he said.
From his drawings, he turns to his oils.
“Oil paints allow a more expressive use of paint. You can continue to rework them and they remain liquid in a sense. They are just so varied, you can have thin washed or a thick impasto paint. It’s been a very popular medium for more than 500 years and it’s very versatile,” he said.
Having attended Hilton College in the Midlands, Bredin said he also enjoyed maths at school and considered geology as a career.
Now working in the demanding tech world and largely in an industrial environment, but with an artist’s eye, he said that both feed into his art.
“I enjoy the insight my job gives me, and how our lives are enmeshed and depend on industry, from the metal in the ground which gives us a teaspoon to how electricity works.
“With painting, I also use a different part of my brain and it’s a different type of thinking, so after painting on the weekend or in the evenings, I go back to work refreshed,” he said.
Asked whether there were other artists or artworks which inspired him, Bredin said: “Really from cave paintings onwards.”
Bredin’s exhibition is on show at the Elizabeth Gordon Gallery, Morningside, until October 21.
The Independent on Saturday