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Solly Smook exhibition in Riebeek Kasteel – a rare opportunity to purchase art from renowned South African artist

3 December, 2017 - 23 January, 2018

Solly Smook

Most art collectors – whether they are beginners looking for inexpensive pieces from relatively unknown or emerging artist, or an established collector that purchases work from renown names – hope to discover an artist whose work multiplies significantly in value over time, becoming an investment item in the collection.

The good news for anyone who owns a painting by South African artist Solly Smook is that this is very much the case with Solly’s work, and paintings which sold for a mere R1500 in 2005 are now worth R30 000 or more and continue to appreciate in value every year.

Solly’s work, which can be classified as contemporary portraiture, is very much in demand, with a waiting list for commissions that stretches into 2020 – not the kind of popularity that many artists can claim to have achieved.

The beginning

Although advised by his high-school art teacher that he did not have enough talent to warrant continuing with the subject, Solly later returned to his passion for art and after struggling initially to attract interest in his work he began studying the techniques and tools used by other artists, attending talks and short courses, exploring art galleries around the world and even watching “how to” video’s on the internet.

“It was about finding a balance between what I wanted to paint and what the market wanted to buy. This led to an evolution in my subject matter as well as the medium in which I work – an evolution that will never really stop as I am constantly honing my style and content and tools, having most recently introduced a palette knife,” says Solly.

Evolution of an artist

Having started out as an artist producing paintings of surreal landscapes and portraits, Solly progressed to a more contemporary style and began to predominantly focus on portraiture – a decision which significantly shaped the success of his career – selling nearly 500 paintings in 15 years.

Solly explains that he is significantly inspired by the beauty of human beings and he purposefully chooses to not portray people’s struggles, hardships, or any other form of oppression that some might expect from art. Instead he aims to highlight the beauty we seldom see, reminding the viewer of the spirit within. “John O’Donohue said that when our eyes are graced with wonder, the world reveals it’s wonders to us.”

A new direction on exhibition

In an exciting development, Solly has announced a new direction in his work which re-considers the “rules” of portrait painting and incorporates more stories, as suggested by landscape or brush marks – quite literally zooming out of the focused portrait.

This new body of work will be on display at The Gallery in Riebeek Kasteel from 03 December until 25 January in a solo exhibition entitled “Stories”.

“The Gallery was a huge stepping stone in my career,” says Solly. “Astrid McLeod, the owner and curator of The Gallery, was one of the first people to believe in my talent and my first big break into the art world was when I had my first portrait exhibition at her art gallery entitled “Fragment”. I am very excited to be exhibiting here once again in this new solo.”

Opportunity to purchase Solly Smook paintings

“Stories” will run at The Gallery in Riebeek Kasteel from 3 December to 23 January and will feature a collection of Solly Smook’s new work which will also be available to purchase.

For more information visit www.galleryriebeek.co.za.

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3 December, 2017
23 January, 2018
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