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Sold at Auction: Johann Louw



Johann Louw is one of South Africa’s pre-eminent painters. Louw’s paintings are intense responses to notions of identity and space, as well as to the particular relationship that exists between the artist and his subjects. Introspective and empathetic, Louw’s ambiguous subjects and deserted scenes are testament to a particular psychological spirit of place and time, experienced with discomfort across social structures within a fast transitioning South Africa. There is a pervading uneasiness as vulnerably exposed figures and forsaken landscapes occupy non-descript and paradoxical spaces. Louw’s masterful handling of his materials draws the viewer in and demands an emotive engagement. Although primarily a painter, Johann Louw also produces expressive drawings and graphic works.

Johann Louw was born in Belville, Cape Town, in 1965 and graduated with a Masters in Fine Art from Stellenbosch University in 1992. He has exhibited to great critical acclaim in South Africa and internationally. In 2007, the Sanlam Art Collection presented a mid-career retrospective as a tribute to Louw’s extensive output and distinguished career over the past two decades. This exhibition toured the country in 2008 and 2009, and was accompanied by a publication on the artist. In 2009, Louw was selected to form part of Linguaggi del Mondo:Languages of the World an official collateral exhibition to the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009. In 2010 he exhibited in Environmental Concern and Human Existence at the 4th Beijing International Art Biennale, China, and Parallelithe official exhibition of the Sabbionetta Biennale for Contemporary Art in Italy.

Solo exhibitions include: New Paintings in 2010 at SMAC in Stellenbosch, Terugkoms van Cythera (Return from Cythera) in 2013 at SMAC in Cape Town and Gestaltes, an exhibition of large scale works on paper at SMAC in Cape Town in 2014. The University of Johannesburg Art Gallery presented his Et in Arcadia Ego in 2013. Louw’s last solo exhibition, Loog, was presented at SMAC Gallery in Stellenbosch in 2016.

Johann Louw was awarded the Ampersand Fellowship in 2014. He was most recently included in Home Truths, curated by Micheal Godby, at the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town in 2016. Home Truths is currently on show until 3 February 2017 at the Sanlam Art Gallery in Belville.
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