PAULINE GUTTER

BIOGRAPHY

PAULINE GUTTER

(b. 1980)

 

STATEMENT FROM DIRK VAN DEN BERG:

 

“When first encountering Pauline Gutter’s paintings on exhibition, they appear familiar to the viewer. After all, are these not ordinary domestic objects and traditional genres of landscape, portraiture and animal studies? On closer examination, however, the viewer finds no trace of cheerful neighbourly realism or pastoral rusticity in these brave and disturbing depictions of rural life, farming people and cattle. Pauline Gutter wants to understand and comprehend the substance of the land, the people and the cattle by interweaving them metaphorically into figures of each other, almost like images that are reflected mutually between three mirrors ...

“The violence we perceive is not depicted explicitly; rather it is embodied in the medium of paint. On closer examination, the intricate and nuanced workmanship of the paintings comes to the fore as an exceptional characteristic of the vision which the artist shares with the viewer. The raw pigment is repeatedly interwoven and interlaced into grainy textures and layered surfaces. The manner in which the artist has approached the creation process has resulted in an extraordinary variety of exceptional marks and motifs - sometimes applied energetically, brusquely and even violently, at times rashly and aggressively, on other occasions with extreme skill and with a refined and sophisticated touch. The emotional conviction and power of these obsessive marks and textures lies in the pulsing colour nuances with which they have been fashioned. The charged energy of mark-making on these canvases broadens into imaginary spaces and fields of force that captivate the viewer.”

 

WORK:

 

Pauline Gutter’s new series of paintings, drawings and graphic works are each self-portraits of the artist’s own hands. Her hands are first photographed by the photographer Frikkie Kap in specific positions and then Gutter starts to develop the image. Often while working, she will also relook at her hands for details or qualities that may be missing from the original photograph.

 

Gutter confirms that these are specifically her hands, no one else’s. From her childhood growing up in the Free State, Gutter has worked with her hands – helping her father on the farm, her mother in the garden and vegetable patch and her grandmother with weaving out of wool and mohair. Her work has always had a strong physical presence. Her materials for priming a canvas, for example, include rabbit skin glue and bees’ wax – both of which give the paintings a dense, fleshy quality. Her painting technique – a kind of weaving together of marks, speaks of an internal energy, something morphing from one state to another – a physical presence that is also about to evolve into a new form.

 

In previous work, Gutter has returned to the image of cattle as a metaphor for the voiceless – a beast that is killed and can’t defend itself. She has also painted portraits of figures whose identity and ancestry is firmly rooted in the platteland. In all of these works, the weaving mark-making that is a characteristic of her work speaks of a connectedness with the land. Here, the hand is also knitted to the landscape – it is shaped by the landscape and shapes the landscape. As with the previous work, it also becomes a landscape – often rendered in the earthy tones we might associate with other work of Gutter’s and sometimes departing from it.

 

So the hands are rooted to the land, but the land itself is never passive – it is restless, shifting, a site for conflicting forces. This is not a bad description of Gutter’s practice either. Although our hands are more familiar to us than our faces (unless we are very narcissistic or paranoid, we spend a lot more time looking down at our hands than we do looking in the mirror), these hands are also constantly transforming, evolving – finding shapes that are fleeting, momentary. Not only that, but they are in constant dialogue with each other. Sometimes they are doing battle with one another, sometimes they seem more estranged, but never do the two hands do the same thing – they are always at odds with each other, often doing battle for power or status.  – Craig Higginson

 

 

BIOGRAPHY:

 

Pauline Gutter, a Free-State-based South African painter and intermedia artist, was born in 1980. She obtained her BA Degree in Fine Arts (cum laude for painting) at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein. She was awarded Honours Colours in Arts and Culture from the same university. She is the winner of the prestigious 2013 ABSA L`Atelier competition and was also awarded the Helgaard Steyn Award for painting in 2011. In 2012, she received the Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans Award.

 

Gutter’s works are included in the following museums and corporate collections: Bibliothèque nationale de France (France), Luciano Benetton Collection (Italy), Oliewenhuis Art Museum, University of Stellenbosch, North-West University,  

University of the Free State, William Humphrey’s permanent collection, the Standard Bank, Sanlam and ABSA Collections, the ATKV Collection, Dabar Wines and Ingcali Engineers.

 

 

CV:

 

HIGHEST QUALIFICATION

 

2003:             

BA Degree in Fine Arts (Cum laude for Painting), University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

NB * below indicates catalogue/publication

 

SOLO EXHIBITIONS:

 

2015              

PURGATORIUM: Solo Exhibition, ABSA Gallery, Johannesburg*

 

2012-2013    

The last of Us, William Humphreys Art Gallery, Potchefstroom, Oliewenhuis Art Museum Reservoir, Bloemfontein and KKNK, Oudtshoorn* 

 

2010-2011    

STAND, Aardkop, Potchefstroom and Volksblad Arts Festival, Bloemfontein*

 

2008-2009    

OPSLA Galery, Oaxaca, Mexico

 

2014-2015    

South Africa: 10 x 12 @ SA, Museo Bilotti, Rome, Fondazione Cini, Venezia and Ca` dei Carresi, Treviso, Italy*

 

2013              

Dialogues, Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris, France

South African Woman Artists, National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia

 

2007              

KPSK: Group Exhibition, Beveren, Belgium

 

NATIONAL CURATED EXHIBITIONS: 

 

2015              

[my] PLACE | PLEK, Vrystaat Arts Festival, Bloemfontein

100 Jarige Bestaan Burger, Cape Town

 

2014              

Post Colonial Africa, KKNK, Oudtshoorn

Blood, Sweat & Years, ABSA Gallery, Johannesburg

 

2013              

Interrupted, University of Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg

 

2012              

ABSA L`Atelier top 100 finalists, Aardklop, Potchefstroom*

Terra Nullius, FRIED Contemporary Art Gallery, Pretoria*

 

2011              

Shift, Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg

Horse: Curated by Ricky Burnett, CIRCA/Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg*

 

2010              

Minor Matters, Volksblad Kunstefees, Bloemfontein*

Passage, FRIED Contemporary Art Gallery, Pretoria*

 

2009              

Angels for Good, Grande Provance, Franschhoek 

 

2008              

Free State Meditations, University of North West Art Gallery, Potchefstroom*

 

2003-2004    

Xpozure Awards, Reservoir, Oliewenhuis Art Museum, Bloemfontein

 

2004  

ABSA Corporate Collection, KKNK, Oudtshoorn

Perspective 30, Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery, Bloemfontein*

 

2000-2003    

Shed Your Skin, Oliewenhuis Art Museum, Bloemfontein

 

TRAVELLING GROUP EXHIBITIONS:

 

2013              

Seven Deadly Virtues, KKNK, Oudtshoorn and FRIED Contemporary, Pretoria Vanitas, AVA Gallery, Cape Town and KKNK, Oudtshoorn

 

2011-2012    

Ik ben een Afrikaander, Artspace, Johannesburg, KKNK, Oudtshoorn and Woordfees, Stellenbosch*

 

2012-2013    

Skilder met Woorde III, Aardklop, Potchefstroom, Woordfees, Stellenbosch and KKNK, Oudshoorn

 

2011              

Rendezvous: a focus on painting, Aardklop, Potchefstroom and University of Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg*

 

2009-2010    

Alooi: Group Exhibition, Woordfees, Stellenbosch and Volksblad Arts Festival, Bloemfontein*

 

COMPETITIONS:

 

2009-2010    

Finalist: ABSA L`Atelier Awards, Johannesburg*

 

2002-2007    

Finalist: ABSA L`Atelier Awards, Johannesburg*

 

2004-2005    

Finalist: Sasol New Signatures competition, Pretoria*

 

2001              

Finalist: Vuleka Awards, Belville, Cape Town

 

2000              

Finalist: PPC Young Sculpture Competition, Pretoria

 

AWARDS: 

 

2014              

Alumni Award: University of the Free State, Bloemfontein

 

2013              

Overall Winner: ABSA L`Atelier Award

 

2012              

Selected as part of the Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans

 

2011              

Winner: Helgaard Steyn Award for Painting

Top 10 Finalist: Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Award

Second Round: BP Portrait Awards, London

 

2006              

Second Prize: Macufe Arts & Culture Festival: Fine Art Division, Bloemfontein

 

2003              

Honours Award: Arts and Culture, University of the Free State

Winner: Xpozure Awards, Reservoir; Oliewenhuis Art Museum

 

2001              

National Award: Folk Dancing, UKASIE - the first Afrikaans arts festival, London

 

RESIDENCIES:

 

2014              

Six months residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris

Six weeks residency at the Atelier le Grand Village, Massignac, France

 

2012              

Shortlisted: African Centre AIR residency, for both the Capp Street Project – USA and the Bundanon Trust, Australia.

 

COLLECTIONS:

 

Bibliothèque nationale de France

Luciano Benetton Collection (Italy)

Oliewenhuis Art Museum, University of Stellenbosch

North-West University

University of the Free State

William Humphreys Art Gallery

Sanlam, Standard Bank

ABSA Corporate Collection

ATKV Collection

Dabar Wines and Ingcali Engineers