Home News Exhibition a tribute to murdered artist’s life

Exhibition a tribute to murdered artist’s life

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Exhibition is also being held in honour of his contribution in showcasing this beautiful and unique region of South Africa

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THE LAST painting to ever be painted by one of South Africa’s foremost contemporary artists, Walter Meyer, who was murdered at his home in Upington in 2017, will make its debut at an exhibition opening at the William Humphreys Art Gallery (the Whag) in Kimberley tomorrow.

Featuring 54 Northern Cape landscape paintings by Meyer, the exhibition, titled “Tuisveld”, opens on the same day that Meyer would have turned 54 years old.

Born on January 31 1965, Meyer was stabbed to death, allegedly by his second wife, Sophia Meyer, on December 22 2017 at their home in Upington following an argument.

She, together with another person, is currently facing a murder charge and will next be appearing in the Upington Magistrate’s Court in May.

Meyer is remembered as being “a master of light that could make banal, sun-bleached deserts alive and shimmering, as well as for his evocative portrayals of derelict buildings and strikingly atmospheric simple towns and landscapes”.

Tuisveld is being held as a tribute to Meyer’s life and work and will be opened by writer and art journalist Amanda Botha, who is currently working on Meyer’s biography.

It is also being held in honour of his contribution in showcasing this beautiful and unique region of South Africa.

Meyer chose the Northern Cape as his permanent residence 25 years ago and lived an isolated, secluded life. During this time he had 10 different studios throughout the region and could truly be called a leading Northern Cape artist.

Included in the exhibition is Meyer’s last painting, which he worked on until his death in 2017, being showcased for the first time.

In a excerpt from a 2005 essay by artist Cobus van Bosch, Meyer’s works are described as follows: “On a technical level, his loaded brush, saturated colours and dramatic interplay of deep shadows and brilliant, shimmering light, do enough to elevate his painting well above those of many other accomplished painters. This allows him to render virtually any landscape into a beautiful and visually soothing vista.

“But it is exactly here where the sting lies, because Meyer’s subject matter – especially its psychological subtexts – is a different story altogether. When he casually says he merely paints what visually strikes him, he is actually being very specific about it. And this in particular gives his art, although rooted in the centuries-old traditions of oil painting, a contemporary edge.

“Instead of depicting beautiful and serene scenes – as so many decorative artists do – Meyer has become known for expressing at best the mundane and at worst the less desirable side of reality. He currently focuses particularly on the harsh semi-desert that constitutes most of the South African Platteland – the Karoo and the Kalahari.”

Tuisveld will open at the Whag tomorrow at 6.30pm and members of the public are welcome to attend.

– Norma Wildenboer