Willemien de Villiers
Willemien de Villiers was born in 1957, in Pretoria, South Africa. She studied Fine Art at the University of Pretoria, graduating in 1978. Currently based in Muizenberg, Cape Town, Willemien also writes, paints and works with ceramics. ARTIST STATEMENT Art is restoration: the idea is to repair the damages that are inflicted in life, to make something that is fragmented – which is what fear and anxiety do to a person – into something whole. – Louise Bourgeois Soft and mutable, cloth by its very nature is a tangible signifier of connection, with its interwoven warp and weft. The fabrics the artist chooses are those used in everyday, ordinary domestic settings, sourced from thrift shops, family and friends. Dripping substances like red wine, turmeric and coffee, the artist subverts the onerous task of removing stains – so often left to women. Moving between ritualistic and prosaic, her substrate of choice is a carrier of densely expressive meaning, underscoring the conceptual framework of her practice. Her medium of choice – cotton thread – is both a physical and figurative means of connecting. Running point to point, through and over and under, it ties together the visible and invisible, denying a one-dimensional understanding of the object and subject. She most often uses thread whose colour is inspired by the body – pinks and reds, browns and off-whites. Like the stains on her fabrics, these refer to the lived experience of women and, still so common, the traumas enacted on them.
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