Day and night, urban and suburban, presence and absence, here and there—the notion of “in-between-ness” significantly characterises the paintings of South African artist MJ Lourens. Executed with photorealistic precision, the artworks seem like quietly powerful representations of the liminal and the peripheral, of the process of transformation.
The light (blue making way for soft splashes of pink or orange or red making way for grey) creates a dreamy mood. The landscape features expanses of almost wild earth punctuated by structures of industry—wire fences, factory towers—erected and organised with a sense of confidence and the promise of progress.
The viewer is left to meditate on the fading and arrival of things, and wonder what is being lost and what gained.
Born in Pretoria, in 1973, Lourens studied Fine Art Sculpture at the University of Pretoria from 1992 to 1996. His body of work includes paintings, sculptures and film, having exhibited in several prominent galleries around South Africa.
Lourens has also directed and produced films such as DIE RIT/THE DRIVE (2009), PROGNOSE/PROGNOSIS (2008) and PA/FATHER (2006), which was screened at the Commonwealth Film Festival and was in the official selection of the African International Film Festival, Tariva, Spain. MJ’s films can be viewed at www.prefab.co.za.
The artist lives and works in Cape Town, where he is represented by 131 A Gallery.