Investec Art Fair 2020: Pattern

Investec Art Fair 2020: Pattern

In my third blog about the Investec Art Fair 2020, I will be focusing on ‘pattern’ I found in numerous artworks. It was interesting to note that a trend seemed to be set by several artists: flat, bright, colourful, and very graphic. It was almost as if they had designed their artwork on a computer, then hand painted it. It still had the cold, impersonal computer-generated-feel, but in those that were painted, the slight-of-hand gave the viewer a much more visually engaging experience.


Jody Paulsen is a young, Cape Town artist. In the work above “Birthday Girl”– (felt collage) is plain to see the flat-patterned work, as described above. This work is large 204 x 155mm and extremely vibrant and ‘busy’. The zoomed-in crops show you the detailing.


Zimbabean artist, Adolf Tega, uses oil on canvas. Both is works above were 160 x 140cm. Left – “The Stories of Today” | Middle – “Customs” and Right – close up of her face. This strong sense of pattern reminds me of textile patterns – one can almost imagine these paintings as scarves.


Brazilian artist, NUNCA is well known for his distinctive style – ‘a dialogue between antique etching: a reference to the techniques used by the conquistadors to portray indigenous tribes and depict the New World, and local iconography with modern treatments’ – Wikipedia. Again the almost computer-inspired graphic seems to be pulled through these paintings.


‘Ready To Go’ – by Ugandan artist, John Baptist Ssekubulwa – oil on canvas, is another rather large paintings (160 x 140cm) created in a flat painted style. Only the figure is slight rendered in 3D, with shading. The rest of the canvas is patterned – the juxtaposition of brightly coloured sportsman against almost monochromatic, daisy-like flowers is interesting.


Nigerian artist, Wole Lagunju, now resides in the USA. He is a trained graphic designer and fine artist, the combination of disciplines is evident in his work: very graphic flat shapes merge from being completely recognisable to bordering on the abstract. From online research, it appears that Wole is influenced by the Onaism school of thought from Nigeria: Onaism is an art movement that is based on the fusion of the designs, ornamentation and motifs found in traditional Yoruba carvings and textiles with modern art pieces such as drawings and paintings’ – Wikipedia.

As our lives get completely sucked into digital technology, it is interesting to note that although most of the above pieces could have been rendered with a mouse or ipad, these artists have chosen to use other, more tactile mediums to create their ‘flat’ work. I’m sure it’s because it’s more sensory-orientated – one can feel, smell and almost taste the artwork. It certainly whet my appetite!

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  • “Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organisation of the entire tapestry.” – Richard P. Feynman

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NOTE: We would like to state that we are not professional art critics! We, love all kinds of art and we love to share our experiences, picks and preferences and make comments on them.

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