Exploring new depths and connections
Dubois draws inspiration from the ocean
SHE longs to paint that which she sees around her and feels within. Seeking God and beauty in everyday life has taken Cape Town artist Paula Dubois on a journey of discovery and transformation.
Connecting – more specifically, connecting human with nature – is a key concept in her art and solo exhibition that will be on at The Studio Art Gallery, Simon’s Town this week.
“Some time ago I encountered the Sea Change Project – and I was captivated. Their work of highlighting kelp forests as one of the great natural wonders of the world has opened my eyes to the mystery of Phaeophyta, a marine algae belonging to the same family of organisms as moulds and amoebas – and vitally at home in cold water,” she said.
Dubois and her son Sebastien, 18, live in Oranjezicht, close to mountain and sea, which she said was a source of inspiration.
“Ancient biblical text tells us He called the dry ground ‘land’ and the gathered waters ‘seas’. What is above, I have found below – a resemblance in form and colour, symbolic of the conscious and subconscious. Through daily walks in nature and spending time at the ocean, I’m drawn to the here and now. The crunch of stones under my feet, the smell of fynbos on a salty sea breeze, the sight of a hummingbird hovering in mid-air. Disturb or remove one, and it affects all. Order turns to chaos, beauty to decay.
“I long to paint that which I see around me and feel within. Creatures and corals, a world of beauty unseen, hidden to us above and threatened by extinction. I want us to be aware, to connect with this world of wonder,” said Dubois. In her latest body of work, she has used acrylic artists’ ink on canvas.
The translucent, versatile medium helps present the nature of that which Dubois depicts.
She also said she found great pleasure in painting “with’ her subject”, turning to found objects like sticks, seeds, dried kelp and shells.
In some of her new works she has used a sea sponge to create texture.