Yvonne Spektor's richly textured paintings reveal a deep sense of place instilled in her during her early years spent in South Africa. Born in Vanrhynsdorp, a small village in the heart of Namaqualand, she grew up surrounded by a vast and varied landscape, where barren deserts would be transformed every spring into kaleidoscopic carpets of flowers. Having left her native land in her early twenties, Spektor's imagery comes directly from memory: ideas of place rather than literal depictions of a country to which she still has a strong emotional bond.
Spektor's painting style perfectly encapsulates this country of blistering extremes. She works very quickly, moving the paint around the whole canvas with various mark making objects. Refusing to be restricted to brushes alone, she employs a variety of tools from cake ladles to plaster scrappers, from forks to knives, her fingers never far from the paint, if not in it, at all times. Stones, sand and sticks often find their way onto her canvases, almost as mementoes of the landscapes that remain so firmly embedded in her psyche.
After studying for several years at various institutions, both in South Africa and England, Spektor completed her Bachelor of Arts as a mature student at the University of Hertfordshire. Her first solo show in London in 2003 followed her great success at the Royal Academy of Arts in the summer of 2001, when she was awarded the Dupree Family Award for a Woman Artist and nominated for the prestigious Wollaston Prize alongside art world luminaries such as Gillian Ayres, Frank Stella and the eventual winner, Alan Charlton.
Spektor's canvases vary from the vast to the compact, using a palette that covers the full range of the African rainbow, from the dusty yellows and browns of the Kalahari plains to the vivid scarlets and greens of the Karoo in full bloom.