Monday, November 23, 2009

Conrad Botha: Since

Conrad Botha

Although he has been painting all his life, Conrad Botha started his career as a professional artist in 2002. After a long and successful career in the corporate environment where he worked for some of the biggest broker firms in the world, he returned to his first love, art.

From the very beginning Conrad Botha always was innovative, but his breakthrough only came after his works and ideas was published in Culture magazine. This was the first time the general public was introduced to his art and the art movements that he started namely Generalism, Architecturism, and Television Impressionism.

He has been waiting for an hour and still no sign of her

Minutes before the chase

The chase part 1

The chase part 2

His most recent works consists mainly out of landscapes. These landscapes represent what he calls “Analytical Generalism.” He refuses to classify these painting as anything but Generalism. These paintings originated from a vast amount of sketches and photographs he made, while on road trips especially Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

One of the things that distinguishes his art, from that of anyone else’s is his believe that the unique name given to a painting is just as important as any brush stroke. Unlike artists like Mark Rothko which stated that silence is so accurate, Conrad Botha believes that although he does not disagree with Rothko, the impact of a the right name for a painting has a severe and powerful effect on the viewer.

Who is she?

I think she only likes me for my money

I have to go, something just came up.

At first glance of his landscapes one is struck by the extreme use of color and light, yet this does not diminish the feel of both realism and surrealism radiated from the paintings. This is most probably due to the fact that he uses almost the full value hue, of any color, he uses on his color plane. Another observation one could make is his inclusion of man-made objects such as motor vehicles. Conrad Botha is one of the view artists in the world that can do this without diminishing the elegance of a landscape painting.

Cars and a bus in New York

I wonder what he really wants?

Disco ball: Tonight we are

going to party like

it is 1999 (Television Impressionism)

In a question what his art means his reply was as follows and I quote: “An artist is shaped by the environment, and sometimes the artist have an impact in shaping the environment. But the main focus for me is still to make a painting that must have an impact on the viewer both on visually and emotionally. Visually, I try to make an impact by my use of color, brush stroke and the composition. Emotionally, the name I give to the painting is as important as any brush stroke I make, to give the person an idea what I was thinking when I looked at the painting. But I also have an ulterior motive and that is to promote the idea of Generalism as a widely recognized art movement. Hopefully within a few years the word Generalism will be used as a term when people talk about art.”

Fig 2: Initial stages for “Make a wish and it will come

true” (Television Impressionism)

As anyone can see this picture was painted directly

from a paused video signal. Although the final result

can be compared to that of an abstract painting, the

painting was done in an impressionistic style.

Fig 3: Make a wish and it will come true (Television Impressionism)

“This is the result of the experiment, and consists

basically out of slabs of different colors similar to that

on the television screen. The name was given only

after I completed the painting, as it represented

something reminiscent to a rainbow, and as a child

I always made a wish when I saw a rainbow.”

Here is an excerpt from notes Conrad Botha made regarding Genralism:

Introduction to Generalism

I founded Generalism as an art movement, mainly because there are too many paintings in existence that cannot be defined.

Generalism includes all art ever created, in the past and in the future. Therefore, all art that cannot be; or has not been yet defined as art, within an art movement, can be regarded as Generalism.

However when it is possible to narrower define a painting, like for instance an Impressionist painting by C├ęzanne, this art movement classification supersedes Generalism, and the painting will be known as an Impressionist painting.

Looking at the definition of the word, general (relating to or covering all instances: not limiting in meaning: not specific) there are many examples of artist all over the world that create art just for the sake of art without any specific movement or statement in mind. These are classic examples of Generalism.

Regarding my own art, I am first and foremost a Generalist. In the spirit of Generalism I paint what I see, what I know, what I don't see and also what I do not know. As the founder of Generalism I declare that there are no rules in Generalism, any means necessary to apply paint to a surface in a sensible way can be and shall be used. The only rule to Generalism is that there are no rules. Generalism includes all art, and are not just limited to paintings.

Manifesto for Generalism

1. Generalism, is art, for the sake of art.

2. All art is Generalism, unless it is narrower defined in another art movement.

3. Whenever art cannot be explained, or defined by the artist or by somebody else, it will be regarded as Generalism.

4. Therefore Generalism unites all art.

5. The onus, therefore rest on the creator, or observer, to explain, or to prove that a particular piece of art should not be regarded as Generalism.

6. Generalism comes down to the fact, that even if an artist has nothing to say, he/she must say it in order to prevent their work to be classified as Generalism.

Big business as usual in Yellow (Architecturism)

Sunrise in the city of gold (Architecturism)

Die trein na Matjiesfontein (Generalism)

Conrad Botha is one of a few artists taking art forward. His innovations in art, both the theoretical and visual aspects of it, are very highly regarded.

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