Organic Matters | Marks that Matter, a breathtaking exhibition of Michèle Nigrini’s latest body of work opens at the Art In The Yard Gallery, Franschhoek on Thursday 22 September. Nigrini continues her exploration of the essence of matter, offering an extensive palette of marks, colours, and techniques within every single canvas.

Michèle Nigrini

‘Organic Matters’ depicts the layering of plant shapes and markings within the landscape, capturing a personal response to what the artist sees rather than simply reproducing images. In these paintings, organic plant shapes from the artist’s environment are layered like compost; that substance which, through a complex process that seems like alchemy, transforms organic waste into the essence of life. Like the alchemy of compost, Michèle’s marks go through a process of transformation, creation, and combination. The resulting canvases are a bristling accumulation of lines and colours, and of unique marks that are created and curated with intent.

Nigrini uses a variety of media materials; charcoal, conté, high flow acrylics, watercolour, inks, stamps, stencils, and handmade brushes. She pushes the boundaries of each medium as far as possible, creating works of harmony and integrity. “I make my tools and brushes from objects I find in my environment. I have the privilege to work in two provinces: in my Rosendal studio, my favourite brush is one made of maize leaves, which is emblematic of the Free State farmlands which surround me. In my Stanford studio, I have been working with dried protea flowers and other fynbos collected from the beautiful biomes around the Western Cape village. I also use stencils, brooms, and all manner of domestic cleaning utensils, which makes the process wonderfully unpredictable.”

The artworks in this exhibition specifically reflect Nigrini’s style of ‘gestural expressionism’. “When working on a large exhibition, I prefer to do it within the geographical area of the exhibition itself so that the complete body of work centres around that place. The textures, colours, and structures of the environment dictate the development of my artwork which, whilst predominately abstract, is based on fleeting images, imagination, and experiences.”

Heath Wave 80 x 80cm | Michèle Nigrini

The essence of Nigrini’s work lies in her ability to allow the spirit of each medium to find and occupy its own space without disturbing the unity of the whole. For the artist, creation is a process, not a product. She complicates simplicity by intuitively creating chaos and then cognitively curating the chaos. The Spirit of place is made visible by the spirit of chance.

Organic Matters | Marks that Matter, solo exhibition of Michèle Nigrini’s latest body of work opens 22 September at the Art In The Yard Gallery, Shop 1, Heritage Square, 9 Huguenot St, Franschhoek and will be available to view until 17 October 2022. Monday to Sunday 9:30am – 5:30pm. Visit

Spirit of Chance 80 x 80cm | Michèle Nigrini


Tales of a Forest 80 x 80cm | Michèle Nigrini


Detail of Heath Wave


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