Print of the Month April 2022 | Adele van Heerden’s ‘Utopia’

Text by Christa Swanepoel

Utopia, 2021 

Watercolour monotype 

72.7 x 63.6 cm 

Edition 1/1 

We humans become more aware of nature when the seasons change. This April, as the leaves fall from the trees and the air is cool and crisp, David Krut Projects shines a light on Cape Town based artist Adele van Heerden‘s monotype titled Utopia.

Van Heerden is deeply aware of how vital nature is to being human, and thus her art centers around the inclusion of plant life and nature in human-made urban spaces: “Nature is at the heart of our psychological and physical well-being. But we are not always able to connect with it and my work has become increasingly preoccupied with how we bring the natural world into our own spaces and find ways to re-engage.” 

Left: A photo taken inside one of the greenhouses at Joubert Park. Right: A cropped detail image of Utopia.

Van Heerden created Utopia during her residency at the David Krut Workshop (DKW) in June/July 2021. She began her residency by exploring Johannesburg’s green spaces with a camera and documenting what she sees. The photograph used for Utopia was taken in Joubert Park at the Green House Project site.  

Van Heerden’s painting style translates beautifully into watercolour monotype prints. Utopia is one of the prints that forms part of Van Heerden’s Field Trip exhibition, currently on display at the 151 Gallery in The Blue House. All of the prints in this exhibition were made in collaboration with DKW. The DKW printers involved in this collaboration were Kim-Lee Loggenberg, Roxy Kaczmarek and Sarah Judge. 

“The pandemic taught me that beauty can be found in the everyday and banal, you just need to shift your perspective.” 

Utopia is a monotype print, “mono” meaning “one”, so there is just one of this print. Watercolour monotypes are created by the artist painting a watercolour image onto perspex. The image is put through the press and transferred from the plate onto a piece of paper. After being removed from the press, the watercolour pigment that remains after the pull is insufficient to make a second impression unless more is applied. 

Adele van Heerden uses paintbrushes and watercolour paint to create her monotype prints. 

To Adele van Heerden speak about her experience at her DKW residency listen to this episode of the David Krut Podcast. Read Visi magazine’s interview with Adele van Heerden about this series of work and her artistic practice. View Utopia and other works from Adele van Heerden’s Field Trip exhibition on her viewing room on the David Krut Portal.  To request a catalogue of all of the works in the Field Trip exhibition, contact us at [email protected].

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