Modulations I – VI  Colour Pencil, Gouache on Film, 42x59cm, 2024  Hung in grid format, showing various ‘stages’ of completion

In “Mirror,” Adele van Heerden immerses viewers in a visual exploration of the interplay between water, light, and the reflective nature of watery worlds. The exhibition is the culmination of a year-long journey that began during a residency at Cite Internationle des Arts in Paris, where the artist engaged in research, swimming, and painting the city’s iconic swimming pools as part of the ongoing A La Piscine project.

Upon returning to her home in Cape Town, van Heerden shifted her focus to the coastal shorelines and the local municipal swimming pool, Long Street Baths. A passionate swimmer herself, she intimately connects with these spaces, using her body, sketchbook, and camera to observe and engage. The resulting mixed- media artworks aim to capture the essence and mood of these environments.

The title, “Mirror,” encapsulates the central theme of the exhibition—the water’s surface as a physical mirror reflecting the surrounding elements, be it the sky, weather, rock, or architectural structures. This mirror, when clear, also reveals the hidden worlds beneath the water. Metaphorically, it extends to the idea of individuals as mirrors to each other, reflecting personas and experiences, creating a dynamic energy transfer of seeing and being seen.

Astrida Neimanis’ insightful writing frames the conceptual underpinning of the exhibition, emphasising the fluid nature of embodiment. “Bodies Of Water” become a metaphor for understanding ourselves as dynamic entities, interconnected and entangled in a complex web of relations. Swimming, in this context, becomes an embodied experience, with the human body serving as a sensory apparatus through which profound discoveries are made.

In addition to van Heerden’s signature pastel, colour pencil, ink and gouache on film technique, “Mirror” introduces her latest printmaking explorations in collaboration with Cape Town print studios. Monotypes created with Georgina Berens at Loft Editions and the artist’s first lithograph with Stephen Inggs at The Print Kitchen add a new dimension to her artistic repertoire.
“Modulations” a series within the exhibition delves into the distortions and abstractions of shapes within swimming pools. Here Van Heerden freezes the undulating lines of tiles, lanes, and the interior architecture of pools in time, capturing the dynamic essence of these aquatic spaces.

Van Heerden’s work explores the relationships between built and natural environments, design and art, and abstraction and figuration. “Mirror” invites viewers to contemplate the layers above and below the waterline, encouraging a deeper appreciation for the intricate dance between reflection and fluidity.

131 A Gallery, 131 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock

Opening 3 February 2024 (11 am-2 pm)
The exhibition concludes on 1 March 2024

Studio Shoot with Tabitha Guy


Piscine Suzanne Berloux II, Ink, Pastel and Gouache on Drafting Film, 84x118cm, 2023


Shorelines III, A Day In The Water, Colour Pencil and Gouache on Film, 42x60cm, 2024

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