Ilse Nieman (b.1977) studied Textile Design full time at Russell Road College in Port Elizabeth from 1996 to 1998. Her first professional solo exhibition showcased a series of still life oil paintings, entitled The Human Presence at Rust-en Vrede Gallery, Durbanville, CT in 2011. In 2013 Ilse developed an interest in paper art – at first in origami and kirigami. It inspired her to produce line drawings of her cats, adding background patterns (reminiscent of her favorite artists Klimt, Beardsley, and Morris) and developed it into single sheet stencil designs.
Ilse joined an exclusive Instagram group titled The Paper Artist Collective in 2015 and has been a member since. Her first paper-cut artworks were included in the annual Stellenbosch Woordfees, curated by Alex Hamilton, in 2016. Since then, she has been invited to participate in various other group exhibitions. These group shows include Grande Provence, Trent Gallery, Rust-en Vrede, IS Art, Imibala, Gallery 2, and Art.b galleries.
Her first paper-cut solo, a body of work titled Paper Cuts/Papiersnitte was exhibited at Rust-en Vrede Gallery in 2019. Exquisitely detailed stencil cuts from a single sheet of black paper. Ilse’s second solo was in 2021 at Rust en Vrede Gallery and was titled Black/White, My City Paper Cuts, where she pushed the boundaries of detailed fine cutting to the extreme, framed between two slightly spaced glass panels to draw attention to the floating paper. She continued with the theme for a group exhibition for Gallery 2 in Johannesburg which showed from November 2021 to February 2022.