DIVE DEEP & FLYING HIGH | Helen van Stolk
Art In The Yard Gallery


Gauguin’s Garden. 100 x 100 cm, ink pencils, acrylic, oil sticks on canvas

As the world around us changes at an ever increasingly rapid pace we look to the comforts of leisure, culture and the arts to provide any sort of escapism and to use as a tool for endurance in these tough times. Many artists and audience comment on the ability to be taken on inner journeys whilst contemplating a particular work. A moment of recognition of former times or feelings. A journey is started and can offer great upliftment, and this phenomena is not found more powerfully than in the work of Helen van Stolk.

The body of work encapsulates inspiration by quite contradictory sources and expressed in uniquely opposite forms. Great masters like Renoir and Gauguin speak volumes in the work using references of colour and emotion juxtaposed with beautiful and delicate gestures that are motivated by tiny whispers of beauty discovered in life and nature. A pattern, an intention or a moment is expressed in van Stolk’s work with effortless easy and equilibrium. Her mark making is constantly changing to express time, space and speed. Her ability to build up the canvas in a variety of mediums is astonishing it almost feels as if she is sculpting the painting where thick stokes are in perfect balance with fine smooth contours.

The artist states “In this new series of abstract work, I escape into stories, I lean into curiosity and let intuitive nudges and signs lead to treasure.

Artist voices from the past influence me, floating in and out, adding their commentary on my choice of colours and shapes. Then, the flutter of birds shows up, humouring me with their daring ingenious designs. “How can we not be featured?”, they say.

Diving into the luxuriousness of it all, I capture the generous and abundantly flamboyant inspirations nature offers me, setting me free to explore new horizons in this body of work.

Helen van Stolk’s inspiration board in her studio.

Each painting has its own vibration, its own energy that elevates the human spirit. It is in diving deep, into my thoughts and emotions, that I am able to take my work to new heights. Stepping back from large works that capture a distant, almost aerial view, you are able to see the bigger picture before diving down deeper to view the layered nuances in each piece.

Reaching new depths of exploration to reach new heights, I work with an accepting knowledge that both polarities and everything in between are exactly where I am meant to be.”

van Stolk’s ability to conduct all these threads of life to produce harmonious compositions of great splendour is extraordinary and makes the work versatile, exciting and consuming. Her past success’s no doubt will be repeated, and we are so honoured to be hosting such talented work. This will be her fourth solo exhibition, her third with AITY Gallery.

A Beautiful Friendship, 200 x165 cm, ink pencils, acrylic, oil & oil sticks on canvas

The show is called Dive Deep & Fly High and opens on 20th March 2021, a special day for the artist as she will also be celebrating an important birthday. We welcome all to the opening although we will be monitoring numbers closely and adhering to strict Covid protocols. Our new space with the high ceilings and vast natural light will lend itself as a excellent stage for this work. We relocated the gallery to the top end of the village at the end of last year. We find ourselves in good keeping with notable other contemporary galleries and also superb new restaurants. We loved our old location in the heart of the village but are confident this change brings fresh positive energy and a new exciting chapter for the gallery. We aim to bring you more exciting solo and group exhibitions and to start attending art fairs both locally, nationally and internationally once the impediments of the pandemic subside.

We look forward to welcoming you soon but if not we will always make a digital platform available for all the shows and new works.


• Art in the Yard Gallery | 1 Heritage Square, 9 Huguenot Street, Franschhoek
• Email art@artintheyard.co.za | Phone +27 (0) 83 463 0392
• Contact person: Georgia or Davene
• Website www.artintheyard.co.za
• Exhibition runs from 20 March – 14 April 2021
• Opening Saturday 20 March, 12:00
• Opening times 9:00 – 18:00, Monday to Saturday and 9:30 – 17:30, Sunday & Public Holidays

Art In The Yard Gallery


Here and Now, 200 x 165 cm, Ink pencils, acrylic, oil & oil sticks on canvas