Hugo Maritz

Born in 1975, Hugo Maritz has resided in South Africa since infancy, semi-regularly migrating from Cape Town to Johannesburg. While initially considering a career in psychology - pursuing and receiving a degree from the University of Johannesburg - he has been a full-time artist since the age of 23.

"The western art world has come to overly value originality," he contends, "which is why, for example, one sees so much installation art. For me, however, technical mastery is at least as important as, at best weakly defined, originality." It is with this attitude of mastery that he approaches his painting, seeking ever greater understanding of color and composition. What is painted (if an object is painted) is less important than the relationship between the object and the space created around it.

"There is an old adage," he says, "Nothing added, nothing taken away. Everything represented must be necessary to the whole." For him, visual art is the business of constructing composition in an allocated space, whether playful or stark or "any other adjective". While enjoying strong contrasts, he dislikes the creation of depth through highlights and shadows.

"I don't like my figures to have too much depth, my abstracts none at all." These are his primary subjects, with his figures having a touch of the abstract about them. Though he has made representational paintings in the past it holds less interest to him.

"I like to explore. I like to try painting in a way that I don't quite understand yet. You 'imagine' what it would look like when you've finished painting it - in different techniques and brush strokes. The more you do these things, the better you get: less accident and more intent, all the time."

Hugo's approach to life favours simplicity. He is fascinated by the mind and the human condition; "I more often paint about the lives of others than I do about my own".

Predominantly self taught he has always gathered inspiration from other artists and through this process developed his own technique. Influential artists include Amedeo Modigliani, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Paul Klee as well as contemporary artists such as Dave McKean and Peter Pharoah. He is established in several South African galleries, with pieces in private collections throughout London, Amsterdam, Australia, New York, Hong Kong and others and has exhibited in 8 solo exhibitions to date.

Hugo’s favourite quote sums up his enigmatic talents: "We are a dream being dreamt by a dreamer." - Bushman saying.

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