Water’s Edge

Bespoke ceramic tiles on nutec
2100 x 1400 mm

Dave Robertson in collaboration with Sonwabile Phillip Mthelo

Dave Robertson

Born in Zimbabwe and based in Cape Town, Dave Robertson is a self-taught abstract painter photographer and printmaker, who spent the early part of his artistic journey, working in the film industry as an art-director. In between film projects he would follow his passion for photography, which was primarily a form of social commentary often concerned with documenting marginalised lifestyles.

After winning a national award at Spier Contemporary 2010, for ‘Paper Trails’, a photographic project documenting urban recyclers in Johannesburg, he took a break from both photography and the film industry to focus on painting. His first solo exhibition of abstract paintings was with WorldArt Gallery, Cape Town in 2011.

Since then Robertson’s artworks have been acquired by a variety of international collectors from Sweden, the USA, Australia and the UK. Local collectors include the South African Foundation for Contemporary Art (SAACA), AFDA and Spier Arts Trust.

“I consider myself a versatile visual artist who feels happiest when pushing the limits of my creative process, whether it be abstract painting, expressionist photography or printmaking. My work is often concerned with the in-between spaces which are not immediately apparent but can be found just under the ‘skin’ of the perceived physical world. A place where fact and fiction, objectivity and subjectivity join hands in a magical dance. Where our so-called physical reality seemingly invites aspects of the metaphysical world to show themselves in the work.”

“My creative process is about manipulating information and impulses that present themselves to me, into some kind of order through which a narrative can be suggested. I have an intuitive approach to painting, relying on my ability to react to whatever marks, gestures or brush strokes I make previously. I paint, then react to what is in front of me, attempting to resolve the visual situation I have placed myself in. Working in this way, often on several artworks simultaneously and operating with varying degrees of confidence and clumsiness, I attempt to discover what the painting is trying to say to me. Presence and energy are important aspects in this process – converting something inert into something that can be responded to emotionally. My intention is for the completed paintings to influence the viewer in the same way the artworks influenced me; so that the viewer becomes more aware of their own individuality, appreciating their own uniqueness.”