N I N A    R O M M

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NINA ROMM
The Myth Of Venus and the Classified Alphabet of Love and Yearning


NINA ROMM
Inflamatory Transformatons:Essays on the Neuro Science/Signs of Truth, Greed and Erotic Compulsions


NINA ROMM
Traveller's Notebook


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NINA ROMM
Untitled


NINA ROMM
Abyssinin Tiger


NINA ROMM
Saucy Suzette with Boa and Beret


NINA ROMM
African Still Life with Portrait and Pineapple


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NINA ROMM
Tree of Life


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NINA ROMM
Woman with Turban I


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NINA ROMM
Foreign Exchanges and Familiar Landscapes


NINA ROMM
Woman and Rhino


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NINA ROMM
Postcards from an African Paradise


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Artist's Statement

Nina is a painter, ceramicist, critic and performance artist extraordinaire, believing in both the process and the finished product. Nina works in various mediums. She is a painter of portraits, still life, animals, birds and important larger collage works with found object in oil on board. Nina's art is an intertwined collaboration of reflecton on herself but she is also a reflectionof her art. Lively, controversial, challenging, engaging - Nina Romm is a well-known public personally in South Africa. Reports on her varied artistis production her commitment to social transformation, and her creativity workshops - as well as on-going television and radio interviews sustain interest in both her creative work, and her response to topical issues.

Her work reflects her interest in a polyvalent and pluralistic* reading of both life and art *{Pluralism: (Ref Joseph Beuys and Judy Chicago) - in both of whose life-work there is a commitment to the artistic process {with a re-examination of both stylistic and technical options} as well as engagement in the political/social arena, and the impetus to positive evolution.}

Opposing reductive categorization, and authoritarian perspectives in both art and politics, her work is exceptionally versatile, ranging from the complex and multi-layered mixed-media/collage works 'The African Alchemies: Tree Of Life Series' dealing with overlays of culture, history, and personal memory operative at the close of the millennium (with specific references to South Africa and the African Continent) - to her whimsical cat paintings, which she refers to as "an ongoing ode to my personal darling, shollie-Wollie, who recently died - and a tribute to felines in general, who teach us so many things about domesticity and the wild; the tactics of seduction; and the symbolic realm of the unconscious." She has also readdressed the notion of still-life, through an ongoing series exploring trinkets and "objects of beauty" both African and from other cultures. Her oeuvre over the past 30 years has also incorporated bronze sculpture and ceramic plates, as well as Performance Art in the 70's and 80's {including 'Strawberries and Cream on the Tail of the Hyena - performed at the Grahamstown Festival in 1987, and the 'Pond of Amnesia' set.)

She was one of the 'alternative judges' chosen by the artistic community for the last Rembrandt Triennial. She is often invited to open Exhibition, and she presents Creativity Workshops both to artists and other groupings, including corporations, social transformation agents, architects, etc.

Her overseas sabbatical research program in 1984 addressed Performance Art as an extension of options within the Visual Arts - with significant implications for both artists and non-artists, providing a methodology for creative individual and social transformation. On her return from this research program she lectured extensively throughout South Africa on these issues.

Her interest in the psychology of cultural manifestations; the response of the viewer, and visual/linguistic entry-points for the work of art is also evidenced by her use of titles to expand viewing depth. While the works function self-sufficiently, the titles invoide further poetic speculations, creating, in totality, another 'extended poem' available for reflection. This is compatible with a view that shuns harsh divisions. Between art and life; between politics and culture; between 'high art' and 'craft'. She describes her life as a "plea for a more multivalent and enriched undersanding of life and art - which moves beyond the abusive reductivisms of Apartheid, to a deeper embracement of individualty and diversity."

Her work in the political arena has focused on social injustices, and the imperative for ongoing awareness, involvement and critical engagement in the process of transformation by all members of society - based not on a simplistic polarization of before/bad v now/good, but rather on continual vigilance regarding evolving political and social realities. In her artistic production, the right to individual idiosyncrasy, and a responsibility to personal transformation directs the process.

Biography

Study

1984
       Post-Master's Research Program undertaken during sabbatical year from UNISA. New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco
       "The Role of Creativity in Individual and Social Tranformation".
       (This project arose as a natural extension of my research into the evolution of Performance Art within the Visual Arts)

1978
       Post-Master's Study - Ceramics. De Vrije Academie, The Hague, Holland

1972/5
       MA(Fine Arts). Michaelis Art School - University of Cape Town
       "A Study of Dada, Kitsch and the Banal as Related Artistic Phenomena"

1972
       B.A. (Arts): UCT - South Africa

Artistic Career

1975 - 2005
       Numerous solo exhibitions at various galleries.
       Participation group shows - South Africa, the USA, Canada.
       Opening speaker at many exhibitions and events.
       Judge major competitions - Rembrandt Triennial Competition (1991), Namibia Standard Bank Biennial (1997)

Teaching Experience

1987 - 2005

Creativity workshops and lectures presented at schools, Universities, small businesses, corporations, museums, non-profit foundations, as well as to selected corporate institutions - including Liberty Life, ESCOM, Old Mutual, Department of Foreign Affairs and Pfizer. Programs also designed specifically for private groups of individuals from every walk of life, including artists, educators, architects, psychologists, etcetera.

1977 - 87

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer - Department of History of Art and Fine Arts, University of South Africa. Compile course material, structure curriculi, and lecture in the following: Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Multi-Media, Art History and Art Theory.

Extended Social/Cultural Involvement

1993 - 2005

Engagement in community development projects, and ongoing advocacy for womens' and childrens' rights.

Selected Exhibitions 1975 - 2005

2005
       "Leaves Of Paradise and the Castle in ihe Bone" - Solo Survey Show. A major "retrospective" survey exhibition of selected works, covering a 30-year period, including work from several key periods, as well as a new series of heads and portraits, and the mythic tree series. Also exhibited were works from the magical earth mandala series produced in 1984/5, entitled 'The Razzmatazz Mandala Series' - a series exploring the creation of ritual in actual and symbolic space, using earth, bitumen, feathers, paper fragments and found objects to create assemblage drawings/icons of possession - an exercise in landscaping the self by marking territory both internal and external. The priming of raw material to invoke primal memory, to galvanize an intricate performance of shape-shifting, meaning-making.
       Gallery-on-the-Square, Johannesburg
       Ansisters: Constitutional Hill, Johannesburg
       "Syntax" 4-person show. Moja Gallery, Johannesburg

2004
       Record Show - Vinyl reflections on recording, the manipulation of records, etc. GordArt Gallery, Johannesburg.

2000-2004
       Various group shows.

1998
       2-person show, Alfred Mall Gallery, Cape Town

1994
       Solo Exhibition. Gallery on Tyrone, Johannesburg Biennale, South African National Gallery, Cape Town
       "Windows on the New South Africa" BMW Pavilion, Waterfront, Cape Town

1993
       Solo-Exhibition, Visual Arts Gallery, Johannesburg

1990
       Solo Exhibition, Cadres D'Esprit Gallery, Cape Town
       Solo Twenty Gallery, New York, USA

1989
       Solo Exhibition. South African Association of Arts, Pretoria
       Vita Award Exhibition, Johannesburg Art Gallery

1988
       Solo-Exhibition. FACE ABOUT FACE ABOUT FACE.
       Natalie Knight Gallery, Johannesburg
       Triennial Exhibition. South African National Gallery, Cape Town

1987
       Standard Bank Drawing Competition. Grahamstown
       Concurrently present the performance work entitled: "Strawberries and Cream on the Tail of the Hyena"

1986
       2-person show. Environ/Mental Structures, UNISA Art Gallery
       2-person show. Environ/Mental Structures, Karen McKerron Gallery

1985
       B.M.W. Tributaries Exhibition, Johannesburg and Germany
       S.A. Triennial Exhibition

1982
       Finalist - Standard Bank Competition for large-scale outdoor sculpture, Johannesburg

1975
       Solo Exhibition. Michaelis School of Arts, Cape Town
       Solo Exhibition. S A Association of Arts, Cape Town

Her work "…unapologetically operates in the realm of hyperbole. Wit becomes the scalpel with which we can dissect our deepest pathologies, with which we may excavate our secular and mythical memory, the overlays of individual and collective fantasy. Romm's world is at once real and staged."

Neville Hoad, Author and Academic


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