Now in the Gallery
The following work is currently on view at the gallery. Click for larger image.
Deon Venter exhibits internationally in leading contemporary fine art galleries. His work is included in the permanent collections of museums, national galleries, and notable public and private collections in Canada, the U.S.A., the U.K., Europe and Africa.
Venter’s paintings have been exhibited regularly at international art fairs on three continents. His unique content, method and use of material has stirred the interest of collectors worldwide.
His critically acclaimed work has been reviewed in numerous newspapers and art magazines in Canada, South Africa and the U.S.A.
Born in 1953 in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, he graduated from Port Elizabeth School of Art and Design in 1976. He lectured at the University of Fort Hare, Republic of the Ciskei, and the Port Elizabeth School of Art and Design, South Africa.
Immigrating to Canada in 1989, the artist currently lives on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.
CV & Exhibitions
For a full CV and exhibition list, please click here.
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John K. Grande, 2008
Like Gustave Courbet’s breakthrough painting The Burial at Ornans, Deon Venter’s Missing Series are presentational, and draw on a history of realism, but so as to move a real and socially demanding subject like the Picton murders and subsequent trials into the language of our times. Venter draws on a long standing history of art, just as altarpieces or retableaux once presented universally understood themes in our churches, so Venter presents images from the media – a place where the imagery of our era – a visual iconology every bit as understood as icons were in the past – rephrasing its imagery with new techniques and presentational forms. Media images are the altarpieces of our era, and Venter’s paintings draw from the controversy of the Picton media circus to draw our attention to the true tragedy beneath all this. These paintings are soulful in their expressive and very painterly transfer and reframing of this tragedy from one idiom into another – painting as paintings they have a very visceral, painterly character. Just as the media (whether print, digital, televisual, or radio) are the sources for everybody’s common knowledge, these bits and bytes of visual, auditory and print information are codified and standardized for the common person. It is not the content but the technological triggers and machines of communication that are significant to the process.
As the writer John Berger has commented, “Original paintings are silent and still in a sense that information never is.” In capturing an historic moment just as Deon Venter does with the Missing series, Vermeer, or Rembrandt, worked within a tradition that was of their era, but equally drew from the well that is the history of art that existed in the times they lived. A language of images is now so dense on the ground, it literally covers the world, and extends globally. How images are used is as significant as the imagery itself in our times. Do images democratize, or distract? Optical data of the media age has its own laws of presentation, a certain distancing in some cases, or direct data release in the case of mug shots, or photo documents. Indeed it is the removal of context often that determines the non-site of media imagery. The media cage is a non-space, as readily neutral as an untouchable in India. The hagiography is sublime, and each and every one of us finds some restitution in the codes of representation that accompany the media. Hence the choice of subject for these works...
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