Rosemary Joynt


Rosemary Joynt (b. 1957, South Africa) studied Fine Art at the Johannesburg Technikon, now the University of Johannesburg. Rosemary’s work explores the points of transition between the depiction of the physical natural environment and the abstract realm of the intuitive imagination. Through various media, but primarily oil paint, she often alludes to her concerns about climate change. Recently she has sought refuge from the overbearing political discourse to focus on the sublime in nature, as a way to condense stillness in the midst of chaos.

She has been represented in numerous group exhibitions by galleries such as Eclectica Art and Design, Absolut Gallery, Cavalli Art Gallery and Gallery 2. Her work has also been exhibited at the Turbine Art Fair in Johannesburg. Rosemary’s work is part of several private and corporate collections. These include the Investec Collection, TCB Media and DLA Piper, amongst others.

Rosemary is a full time artist, living and working in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Artist Statement

If the image in a photo represents a frozen moment in time, the process of painting is a way of slowing time down and holding it still. For me, painting is a particularly slow, incremental process. There is a gradual building up of layers and layers of colour washes before the brush strokes and then more layers. The mark is held in time, as are the thoughts centred on the painting during its making. The canvas is both the simple surface of things as well as their depths.

Scrolling through thousands of photos on my phone and choosing the ones that resonate most, I select them and put them in a folder marked “possible paintings”. They are photos taken in a nearby park, my garden at night, a nature reserve or gardens I have visited. They are a starting point, but what compels me to paint from these images in a world that is fraught with crisis? Perhaps it is an antidote to the political, a way to condense stillness in the midst of chaos and a possible retreat in times of anxiety. As ‘Olafur Eliasson puts it, “We need a moment of relief, of beauty, of letting go in order to conceive of a better tomorrow. Before you have hope, you have to have relief”.

The changing light brings a procession of sensations through the day and the seasons. The early morning winter light hovers as though the world is just coming into being, or could dissolve and disappear. Midday in summer brings shimmering sunlight and a flood of dazzling, saturated colour. Twilight is an intermediate state of soft reflection, half-shadow and ambiguity. Darkness is a time of looming forms, of mystery and imagination.

My intention was to evoke the feeling of particular places and times, rather than simulating literal pictures of them. Perhaps it is a wish to condense and prolong the experience when faced with the knowledge that the natural world is shrinking. As Arundhati Roy writes, “There is beauty yet in this brutal, damaged world of ours. Hidden, fierce, immense. Beauty that is uniquely ours and beauty that we have received with grace from others, enhanced, reinvented and made our own. We have to seek it out, nurture it, love it.”

‘Olafur Eliasson, THE LONELY PALETTE, podcast Episode 52, 2017
Arundhati Roy, THE COST OF LIVING, 1999

Image: Courtesy of artist