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Bronwen Findlay

Findlay enjoys the surprise of combining things that are not normally seen together. Her collection is displayed in her home and serves both decorative and functional purposes, creating a living environment rather like a three-dimensional painting ... [her] interest in objects as source material for her art-work does not lie in ‘straight’ renderings, however, and illusionism is not a goal. Rather she is concerned with a translation of reality through the process of intense looking and painting. (Charlton 2007)

Findlay studied at the University of Natal, Pietermaritz- burg from 1978 and obtained her Master of Arts degree in Fine Art (cum laude) in 1994. She is also a qualified educationalist.

Her employment history started in 1989 as an art teacher at Durban high schools. In 1993 Findlay was appointed as lecturer at the University of Durban-West- ville, where she lectured until the closure of the Arts, Drama and Music departments in 2000. Then a period of contract employment followed at the University of Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg. She taught Education, Visual Literacy, Painting and Drawing and Design. In 2014 she was appointed to the Education Department, University of Witwatersrand, and the Faculty of Arts and Drama, University of Johannesburg.

For the past five years Findlay has been an arts facilita- tor for Tsogang Basadi Women’s Project, Ekupholeni, Natalspruit hospital, Katlehong and previously she was also a visual arts facilitator for the Women and Violence project, CDP, Johannesburg.

 

Exhibitions

Findlay’s first of more that 15 solo exhibitions to date was in 1983, at the Natal Society of Arts, Durban, and the latest, Moving Flowers (paintings), in 2012 at the Everard Read Gallery, Rosebank, Johannesburg. The exhibition titled All about everything was held at the Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg in 2006.

The artist took part in various group exhibitions since the End Conscription Campaign Exhibition, in Durban (1986). She was also represented in the touring exhibition Panoramas of passage: Changing landscapes of South Africa, organised by Meridian International Center, Washington DC in association with the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (1995) and “UTSAV”, an exhibition of artists from India and South Africa, Durban Art Gallery (1998). This exhibition was held in honour of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.

Other exhibitions

2000 The hour glass project. A print collaboration, The Caversham Press, Natal. The exhibition was held at the Standard Bank Festival in Grahamstown; Atlanta, USA, and Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg.

2001 & 2005 Break the silence Artists for Human Rights. HIV/Aids Billboard and Print Portfolio project.

2002 Untold tales of magic: Abelumbi: Abelumbi. Curated by Jill Addleson, Durban Art Gallery.

2004 Brett Kebble Art AwardsExhibition, Cape Town.

2007 Spier Contemporary exhibition – exhibition of 92 South African artists

2010 Artists from KwaZulu-Natal, Bamboo, curated by Carol Lee.

Findlay was nominated for the FNB Vita Awards Prize in 2002. Her work was also shown at the Aardklop National Arts Festival, Potchefstroom.

Representend in the following public collections

Durban Institute of Technology; Durban Art Gallery; Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg; UNISA Col- lection, Pretoria; Wits Art Galleries, University of the Witwatersrand; Natal Provincial Administration; Botany Department, University of Cape Town; ABSA Bank Collection; Engen Collection; Empangeni Art and Culture Museum; Carnegie Art Museum, Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal; Margate Art Museum, KwaZulu-Natal; KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Administration; Sasol Collec- tion, Johannesburg; MTN Collection, Johannesburg; Standard Bank, Johannesburg and First National Bank.

Commissions

1995 – 2000 Designed covers for “Alternation: Journal of the Centre for the Study of Southern African Literature and Languages”.

2000Designed book cover for “Jurisprudence: A South African Perspective” by Johnson, Pete, Du Plessis. Painting – “Seeds and Scales”

2001 Melrose Arch mosaic project with Jane du Rand and Andrew Verster. Partly responsible for designing and applying 400 square metres of mosaic to lift shaft, tower block and interior and exterior walls of a building designed by architects from Omm Design Workshop, Durban.

Other professional activities include appointments as external examiner for the Durban Institute of Technology, Vaal University of Technology, University of Johannesburg, Wits University, University of the Free State and Rhodes University.

Findlay was also in the selection panel of the Emma Smith Overseas Art Scholarship, Natal Technikon, and active in judging art competitions and opening art exhibitions.

Findlay’s work All about everything is monumental as well as big and represents the artist’s oeuvre in a striking way. The overwhelming concept is supported by the impressive technical execution, profound content and trendy as well as historical reference framework.

The execution of All about everything reminds one of the epic abstract expressionism painting style, but also represents everyday things, simple indispensable things that surround human life daily.

Notwithstanding the size of the work, it succeeds in making the personal voice of the artist as an individual visible and bears evidence of Findlay’s intention to create work with human appeal that is honest and touching. (Commendatio 2007) 

All about everything (2005) – triptych, oil paint and mixed media on canvas, 200 x 350cm 
Standard Bank Art Gallery, Johannesburg


Photo courtesy of the artist