John Meyer – Conduct and Expectations
Published in 2008 by Brusberg Berlin, to accompany the exhibition of the same title.
John Meyer is one of South Africa’s leading contemporary realists. Born in 1942, Meyer has put his indelible stamp on the genres of landscape, portraiture and narrative art. Meyer became a professional painter in 1972. Since then he has travelled extensively, painting landscapes from Nevada to Norway. He has exhibited consistently in the United States, United Kingdom, Europe and South Africa, developing an international profile that few South African artists have achieved. Over the years he has become a court painter to the rich and powerful, and his subjects range from Nobel Peace Prize winners Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk, to renowned concert pianist Vladimir Horowitz.
Since the early 1990s Meyer has concentrated almost exclusively on what he calls the narrative genre “enigmatic figures caught in uncertain situations”. Of particular interest are his ‘sequential narratives’, where a scene is painted on multiple canvases. These works reflect his interest in compositional interaction rather than conventional realism, and display his traditional visual hallmark – a tight, theatrical control of the painted surface. By painting multiple separate but related views of the same interaction, Meyer has introduced an element of movement into his art, an innovation he describes as a “cinematic” response to the changing visual paradigm…These are sequences that are meant to add broader dimensions to the narrative. They are designed to draw on the viewer’s own emotional ambiguity.
Text courtesy Everard Read Gallery.