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J    P    M E Y E R
A B S T R A C T I O N    A N D    M E A N I N G

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For more information on the artist, see below

Not This, Not That # 4

Not This, Not That # 6

Not This, Not That # 5

Not This, Not That # 3

Configuration 6

Artist's Statement

In my mid-forties I noticed how the way in which I saw myself, my life and the world was changing. The resources which I had access to for most of my life, like optimism, enthusiasm, energy/health/strength etc, were no longer available on demand. I became very aware of my own mortality.

Although I had been studying eastern philosophy for a number of years, it became an even more important aspect of my life. In a Zen monastery in upstate New York I learnt how to use mark-making (art) as a valuable tool for self-investigation and contemplation. My work naturally changed from figurative to abstract as I became more interested in serialization and process rather than form.

The Mystery remains, but I have learnt a lot about my own consciousness over the past few years. I have a clearer understanding of how we create our personal ideology and how either limiting or enlightening that worldview can be.

A trip to Australia in 2009 and an encounter with aboriginal artists and their work convinced me to move back to the Karoo, after living in a Buddhist Hermitage for three years. The Karoo region of Southern Africa is one of the richest archaeological areas of the world. I have since become fascinated by the relationship that exists between landscape and humans; how each impacts on the other; how geology and paleontology can illuminate the mysteries of human evolution.

Art, in my opinion is a very effective vehicle for expression, narration, social commentary etc., but cannot dictate a given meaning. Meaning comes primarily through personal effort, involvement and experience. However, in an increasingly conceptual world, I feel that the mere act of seeing and looking can inspire an internal response that can have a profound effect on the viewer. I feel this when I see earth patterns and fractals taken from outer space, images under a microscope, the mosaics of the Alhambra, stone gardens of Japan, Rothko's Seagram works....


After studying social work at the University of the Orange Free State, J P Meyer enrolled at the Foundation School of Art in Cape Town, where he obtained a Diploma in Fine Art in the late 1990's. His earlier work was in the realist tradition, but, after extensive travels in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal, his work shifted to embrace the aesthetics of abstraction.

He is primarily concerned with the ritual of mark-making and the relationship between consciousness and the creative process. He is engrossed with the omnipresence of patterns, cycles, fractals and repetition in the natural world, and within his own person and within his own persona.

The floating grids and undulating thin parallel lines on the surface of his work are not what they seem: the underlying colour on which blocks and broad lines have been superimposed, creates this optical effect.

Consequently, each work is a labour-intensive and meditative process of patiently painting the small squares or bands of colour over a foundation colour to achieve a grid in reverse, or the negative of parallel lines. His work is a contemporary interpretation on the many variants of abstraction and Op-Art of the 1950s and 1960s that also focused on the medium and the making of art, rather than on naturalistic imagery.


Date of birth: 1960

2010:            Living and working in Prince Albert
2006-2009:  Manager at Dharmagiri Hermitage, Underberg, KZN
2005-2006:  Resident at ZMM, USA and BodhiZendo, India
2001-2005:  Living and working in Prince Albert
2000:            Travelled in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal
1999:            Obtained a Diploma of Fine Art, Painting
1996-1999:  Full-time student at Foundation School of Art, CPT
1981-1999:  Flight Attendant with South African Airways
1979-1980:  Studied Social Work at UOFS
1978:            Matriculated

Solo Exhibitions

2008:   Constant movement, Artspace@Granitas, Pretoria
2006:   Repetition, Cultivaria, Paarl
2003:   Reflection, AVA, Cape Town

Joint Exhibitions

2005:   Stukkies, Artspace, JHB
2004:   Drie Skilders, KKNK, Oudtshoorn
2003:   Twee Skilders, KKNK, Oudtshoorn

Selected Group Exhibitions

2010:   19th Art Salon, Camps Bay, Cape Town
2010:   My Inspiration, JAG Foundation
2010:   Bolero, An International Art Project on the move
2010:   Current Matters, Grande Provance, Franschhoek
2008:   Art Salon, Rose Korber, Camps Bay
2005:   Finding You, AVA, Cape Town
2005:   Kaleidoscope, Grande Provance, Franschhoek
2004:   Brett Kebble Awards Exhibition, CTICC, Cape Town
2004:   Sasol New Signatures, PTA Art Gallery, Pretoria
2003:   Brett Kebble Awards Exhibition, CTICC, Cape Town
2003:   Krisp, Art.B, Bellville


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