Gina Van Zyl De Oliveira is a Visual artist based in Johannesburg. She has recently completed her Masters Degree at the University of the Witwatersrand. Her artistic focus and interest are directed at how and to what ends violence and sexuality are represented through the process and media of painting. After completing her undergraduate degree in 2007, Gina De Oliveira worked as a commercial artist for a year and during that time took part in a group show entitled “Four Tales” at gallery Momo in Johannesburg. During the period 2009-10, Gina de Oliveira, travelled and taught abroad and at the end of 2010 returned to begin her postgraduate studies at Wits. In 2011 she took part in the art meets activism multidisciplinary public performance project HIV/AIDS: In It Together facilitated by performance artist Anthea Moys. The outcome of which was a series of public group performances in central Braamfontein during peak hour traffic over a period of three days. In early 2012 her worked appeared in several pop up group shows in Braamfontein and took part in the UCT- Wits masters exchange exhibition SEE-SAW. Later in the same year de Oliveira worked with Moys once again taking part in a series of gaming workshops centred-around the Berlin AMAZE festival exchange. In November 2012 de Oliveira ran and facilitated a three-day creative workshop, The Imaging of Violence which aimed at dealing with some of the complexities in imaging narratives of violence. In February 2013 de Oliveira exhibited her masters body of work in a solo exhibition at the Wits Substation entitled A Tacit Protest: The Room Series. De Oliveira is currently involved in a series of projects focused on contemporary painting and practice.
My approach to painting can be divided into two parts: the exploration of paint as a medium and an engagement with narrative and allegory around discourses on the imaging of violence and sexuality.
I work with amorphous images using multiple layers and a mixture of mediums to create meaning. My work process involves both the disruption of surface material and imagery to convey the disruptions and seeming fluidity in the relationship between sexuality and violence. Allegory and metaphor play a key part of meaning making in my work. Interior spaces, particularly those indicative of private spaces such as the sofa and bathroom in ones home, are for me symbolic of the private internal spaces of the psyche. Within the historical canon of Western art, images of the body, particularly the female nude, have become synonymous with Western ideals of sexuality and discourses around the gaze, themes which feature heavily in my work.