FOUNDERS – Ballard Lederer Gallery, Vancouver, 2003


The work of Deon Venter… “is an uncompromising and unique voice in visual arts.  His is by no means a lone voice.  The subject and content of his work, that of history, memory, geography and identity is the theme of some of the leading contemporary artists working today.  William Kentridge, Anselm Kiefer, Christian Boltansky and Andreas Serrano, have all, in one form or another, made this a central part of their work.”

Jaques de Klerk Solo exhibition 2001 “Evidence Series”.  Vortex Gallery, Salt Spring Island.

“Finally, Venter’s unacknowledgement of regionality is a gesture towards a universal nomadism.  With regions abolished, we are all homeless.  In his work, this utopian plan is reified slowly, through a multitude of brave gestures.”

Ryan Whyte  1995 Out of Canada/Displaced, Latitude 53 Gallery, Edmonton.

“…the trauma of the immigrant is impossible to comprehend.  His birth-like relocation is painful because it brings to light the unseen cradling components of fixed existence.  The immigrant, exposed to this painful, secretive light, is granted awareness of the hidden architecture of location.”

 Susan Crandall  1995 Out of Canada/Displaced.  Latitude 53 Gallery, Edmonton.

“Transformation is a key theme in the work of the artist…….There is nothing shallow or superficial in the work of this artist.  No attempt is made to prettify these pieces.  We are required to look at, and contemplate these symbols of the human condition.  Self discovery is at the heart of these statements for the artist, for the individual viewer and for mankind as a whole.”

Patrick Montgomery  1989 Solo exhibition – Diane Farris Gallery – Vancouver.

 “When the history of our time is carried into the African continent there will be evidence of Deon Venter’s artistic endeavor scorched into the dry places of this land, where it will be discovered by future artists to be brave and forthright, based on sound artistic principles, easily able to withstand and great blast that Africa is so often capable of producing.”

Hilary Graham  1988 Univerity of For Hare, South Africa.

“It is the migrant’s eye view of the world.  It is written from the very experience of uprooting, disjuncture and metamorphosis (slow or rapid, painful or pleasurable) that is the migrant’s condition and from which I believe, can be derived a metaphor for humanity.”

Salmon Rushdie  “Imaginary Homelands”

“In the employment of my materials and methods – the history of the creative process, the congealing of the paints and the sgraffito of the form – is essential to the description of the subject matter.  The paint is intentionally and unintentionally dribbled or spattered to energize the painting, acting as the umbilical cord of the artist, taking on the qualities of patina rather than paint – as in ritual objects.  The materials are built up in layers to pucker or stretch in their drying process to symbolize the decaying process of history and it’s cover up.  The combination of the materials is not only used for its final visual effect, but is also a necessary component to describe the content.  The medium of water and strong solvents of turpentine, thinners and acids as well as salts allows for a full potential employment of very basic industrial and ceramic materials”

Deon Venter  2002  “Materials and Methods”

“Discoverers” and “founders” always evoke a number of emotions and their own particular set of difficulties for us.  They set in motion the irrevocable events which would both create and affect the future nation.  Our perception of these individuals varies with time from that of the elevated hero, when monuments are erected in their honor and their accomplishments exalted in our history texts, to the vilifications and destruction of the monuments, or else their fading in our memory to a place of irrelevance.  The founding of the “new world”, of course, intervened and, in some cases destroyed the ancient societies already established there, creating a complex pluralistic society, still evident today in North America, South America, South Africa, Australia etc.”

Deon Venter  2002 Solo Exhibition “Founders” Ballard Lederer Gallery, Vancouver.