Johannesburg’s latest art playground, Victoria Yards, is showing an exhibition by John Moore at the Afropolitan Gallery until August 1st.
Moore’s passion for wildlife and natural heritage fuses themes of spirituality and mysticism. In addition to depictions of wildlife and the plight of endangered species, his work often also includes references to Southern Africa’s ancient San and Khoi rock painting heritage.
Moore’s show at the Afropolitan Gallery, titled In the Beginning, is primarily in a pastel coloured medium, but there are also etchings, linocuts and mixed media.
The Kruger National Park sparked his deep love for wildlife during a childhood marked by long holidays and explorations of South Africa, particularly of that park where he learned to love and appreciate wildlife in every form.
Moore remembers sitting at waterholes for hours with binoculars and nature books. He studied birds, trees and insects and over the years his appreciation for detail grew.
The inspiration for his images comes from “experiencing life in all its forms”, he says.
Q&A with John Moore
What inspires you?
I look at all aspects of my life to create inspiration in my work, from daily activities, walking in nature, movies, reading, trance experiences. Nothing is exempt from my continual scrutiny.
Once an idea has surfaced, I then journal it for future reference.
What is your daily routine?
I work hard and am known as a productive artist. I often get up at 6am, go to the gym and get into the studio by 8am to set up for the day.
I don’t work normal hours, but take frequent breaks throughout the day, allowing me to fetch children, look at research, attend meetings and catch up on administration. I usually work for two hours and have a 30-minute break. In peak times this working ethic can allow me to work till midnight. Close to exhibitions I work even later. I find working at night the best as there are no distractions.
What are your preferred mediums?
I work in any medium that I feel is best to express my work. I am a printmaker and use these mediums often to express ideas, namely woodcuts, linocuts, etchings, perspex plates.
However, I don’t just use the printmaking mediums, I also use charcoal and pastels to create large scale work. My next show predominantly has large charcoal and pastel images, supported by ceramics and smaller etchings. I use whatever is needed to best express my ideas.
Tell us about your latest work ‘In the Beginning’?
My previous show was focused on charcoal and silver pigment. It took me a year and a half to make those images. I was so tired of the limited monochrome perspective that I knew most of the work at Afropolitan Gallery would be colour.
With this show, I am looking at time, and how that influences us. We can choose to change our future whilst acting in the present, our past can never be changed. My imagery is again the fauna and flora of Southern Africa using vibrant colours to shift my work as I progress further into this theme.
I am also using cattle in my work, specifically targeting the Nguni, a symbol of wealth. I am trying to show how important and precious all our species are whether wild or tamed.
- In the Beginning is at the Afropolitan Gallery, Victoria Yards, 16 Viljoen Street, Lorentzville, Johannesburg until August 1.
- Open times are Wednesday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and the first Sunday of every month as part of the First Sunday’s arts and entertainment events in east downtown Johannesburg