Katrine Claassens’ paintings reflect her interests in climate change, deep ecology and conservation. Her miniature paintings present us with tiny golden worlds where endless scenes from the natural world play out. From escaping circus ponies to jungle tigers, something truly wild always nips out from these small, but powerful works. In style and atmosphere, the paintings unite two very different painting traditions: Persian miniature paintings and 18thcentury travel paintings. Even though these traditions are removed geographically and temporally, they both reflect a recognition that small bits of paradise can be found here on earth.
Indeed, through Claassens’ works we visit unspoiled tropical islands, overgrown gardens and fire-fly filled forests,all bursting with a menagerie of creatures who have come out to play. The use of golden metallic leaf and the diminutive size of the paintings emphasises the preciousness of these places and their animals, reminding us to be better guardians of the small Edens we still have left in the world.
Katrine Claassens has a degree in Visual Arts from Stellenbosch University and master’s degree in Climate Change from the University of Cape Town. She has led workshops, given public lectures and curated exhibitions all over the world from the Arctic to Antarctica. She is a writer and illustrator for The Nature of Cities and also volunteers with CliMates. She currently lives and works in Montreal.
SELECTED PROJECTS & EXHIBITIONS
2020 - Love Letters to the Muted World, solo exhibition, 99 Loop Gallery, Cape Town. 2019 - Regarding Winter, group exhibition, Salon91, Cape Town; Trees Make Forests, group exhibition, Salon91, Cape Town; Turbine Art Fair, Salon 91, Johannesburg. 2018 - Extinction & Climate Change, talk & workshop, Redpath Museum, McGill University, Canada; ‘Adaptation Futures’, Cape Town International Convention Centre; ‘Trees Make Forests’, Salon91. 2017 – ‘we came at a time,’ 99 Loop Gallery (solo), Cape Town; ‘Thoughtful Planet,’ The Thought Foundation, Gatehead, UK; Art Africa Fair, DF Contemporary, Cape Town. 2016 – ‘Oracle’ at Salon91; ‘Welcome To The Internet I Will Be Your Guide’ (solo) 99 Loop Gallery; ‘Reverie,’ AGOG Gallery; ‘Artemisia,’ DF Contemporary; ‘Imago Mundi,’ Pratt Institute. 2015 – ‘The Persistence of Memory,’ Untitled Studios; ‘Golden Haze,’ Salon91. 2014 – ‘Fresh Produce,’ Turbine Art Fair; ‘Five Wolves No Pigs,’ Montreal. 2013 – ‘Between The Blue Swimming Pools,’ AVA (solo); ‘Muse,’ Casa Labia; ‘Fissure,’ Commune1; ‘In Good Company,’ Irma Stern Museum Gallery; ‘Home is Wherever You Are,’ Salon91. 2012 – ‘Die Landskap van Vrouwees,’ Grevilleas Gallery; ‘Shoes From Chinese Ships,’ Salon91; ‘I’d Rather Be Swimming,’ Salon91. 2011 – ‘The Jacaranda Girls and Other Stories,’ Salon91 (solo). 2009 – ‘The Birds/ Les Oiseaux,’ Cheap as Candy, Syndrome, Montreal (solo). 2008 -Sasol New Signatures Exhibition, Pretoria Arts Museum; ABSA Atelier, ABSA Gallery. 2007 – Greatest Hits, AVA Gallery; Timo Smuts Art Prize, University of Stellenbosch Gallery.