Sharon Sampson is a figurative artist with deep roots in the world of advertising, art direction, and design. She graduated in Fine Art and Graphic Design, Natal Technikon, and studied under, amongst others, Andrew Verster. Specialising in oil painting and printmaking, Sampson has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions, and her work is held both locally and abroad. As an educator, Sharon commands a reputation of excellence through her printmaking studio in Illovo, Johannesburg through which numerous South African artists have emerged and grown.

Moved by a series of incidents surrounding a well-nigh 100-year-old oak tree in the artist’s garden, Sampson explores the cycle of life – growth, maturity, decay, and most significantly, renewal and rejuvenation occurring in nature, strongly symbolising the sacredness and divineness of the universe.

Placing relevance on circular forms in nature, Sampson is deeply respectful that the circle, or wheel, represents birth, survival and death across multiple religions and philosophies. Central to this consideration is the process of return; even in decomposition and death, a process of giving back, providing life to another, and ultimately to earth itself, highlights the infinite and indestructible nature of energy.

Sampson reminds us of the significance of trees as part of nature, exploring their ebb and flow, their simultaneous strength and fragility, masculinity and femininity, allowing the viewer to consider the tree, and nature, at its very cellular level. This is explored through a series of works tending toward abstraction, an exploratory direction for the artist, the enjoyment of this evident in the understated vibrancy of the work.

The circle whilst simultaneously simple and complex suggests parallels on a human level. Conspicuous in their prolific presence, Sampson infers a link to our arboreal partners with whom we share this planet. The viewer may draw their own conclusions regarding our responsibilities regarding the return and restoration of positive human energy into nature, the earth and the universe.

Works are presented as oil paintings, and prints – incorporating a variety of techniques including monotypes, collagraph, carborundum, photopolymer and linocuts. The artworks range from impressionistic to the abstract. Some prints have been created using arboreal components, adding further depth to the central concept of renewal and rejuvenation.

About the Opening Speaker – Bevan de Wet

Artist, professional printmaker, and academic facilitator, De Wet graduated from Rhodes University with Bachelor of Fine Arts (with distinction), under the mentorship of Diane Victor, amongst others. Accoladed with numerous awards, de Wet achieved a Merit Award at the ABSA L’Atelier Competition in 2014, which granted him a 2month residency at the Stylt Foundation in Germany in 2015. De Wet is closely linked with Sharon Sampson’s studio, where printmaking workshops are facilitated.

Halifax Art is a visual art agency owned by Dana MacFarlane. MacFarlane promotes the work of selected South African artists through exhibitions at various venues around Johannesburg, as well as the Nelspruit area. A permanent gallery is situated at 35A 4th Avenue Parkhurst.

About the Exhibition:

Opening: Wednesday, 12 July at 6 pm at Halifax Art (34A Fourth Avenue, Parkhurst, Johannesburg)
The Exhibition runs until 31 July with a Walkabout on Saturday, 22 July at 10 am

Gallery hours: 9 am to 4 pm Tuesdays to Fridays. 9:30 am to 1 pm Saturdays and Sundays. Closed Mondays and certain public holidays.

For more information about the exhibition: [email protected]