Leonora Venter

  • Born 11 December 1956 in Johannesburg
  • Completed a BA(FA) at Potchefstroom University (Northwest University) 1981.
  • Worked in various private and public sectors from Geological Draughting Office for big mining companies, the Johannesburg Library, the Roodepoort Museum as Art, Marketing & Public Relations Curator before moving into the world of IT in 1998 while completing a N.Diploma (Information Technology) in 2003.
  • Joined the Joburg Urban Sketchers in 2013 and have been participating in Sketchcrawls ever since.
  • Currently practising art full-time.

Confusion, complexity and clarity.

I find myself rooted in a 'rich' and varied country where infinite values, customs, histories, tragedies and triumphs constantly play out - both within and around me. This makes for an interesting and colourful existence which not only creates confusion and complexity, but also present moments of clarity, simplicity and joy.

In my work, I strive to explore these values, customs, histories, tragedies and triumphs through drawing and printmaking. My preferred mediums are pen and ink, pencil, charcoal, pastel (and occasionally oil on canvas) using a limited colour palette. I attempt to synthesize the chaos and confusion around me in an attempt to find clarity and simplicity. My subject matter includes natural and made-made objects such as windmills, barbed wire, bird’s nests and trees. These objects gain significance not only through their obvious purposes, but also through the projected cultural, historical and even spiritual layers projected upon them.

Current focus of my work

In my current work, I am exploring the concept of freedom versus captivity, security versus uncertainty - using bird’s nests and barbed wire as symbols of these opposing yet interlinked concepts. A bird’s nest offers shelter and freedom to a bird in nature, but can be ripped apart by a violent storm or a predator at any point. The captured bird lives safely in a cage, free from the forces of nature and the need to hunt for food or water. Barbed wire can either be used to stop prisoners from escaping or burglars from breaking in… Neither freedom nor captivity are absolutes, none excludes the other. Freedom brings responsibilities, captivity removes responsibility.