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Fibre sculptor Celia de Villiers organically collages hot glass, fibres and yarns into fetishes evoking the primal and the post-modern. She embroiders by hand and machine, and weaves together wood and wire. The resulting rich surface textures are dyed using various natural and chemical substances.
Via the fragmentation and layering of textiles, de Villiers seeks to express the repetitive rituals of daily living, growth and decay. Her sculptures and graphics often address post-feminist issues, drawing on ancient myths and modern obsessions concerning women. Through symbols of the universal as well as deeply personal, she communicates her existential experience and her means of making sense of the world.
“Art is a conversation, an experiment between the spiritual and the physical. But it’s not like science. It is more philosophical, like alchemy. The accidents, the imperfections – glass bubbles, cracks, stains – speak of human frailty, and the vulnerability of the body in performance.”
The artist’s work has featured in thirteen solo and forty-seven group exhibitions worldwide. International companies have commissioned her textile as well as glass creations. She was a Standard Bank Resident Artist at the National Arts festival in 2000. Some of her works were recently acquired by the American Museum of Art and Design in New York for their permanent collection.
Currently researching for her MA in Visual Art (2001/05), de Villiers attained her BA in Fine Art (UNISA) with distinction in 1998. She also holds a Higher Education Diploma from Johannesburg College of Education. She is well known as an expert adult educator in fine art and a multitude of crafts.
De Villiers worked as a high school teacher for ten years. She then switched careers and co-ordinated a variety of courses at community centres for the Metro Councils of Sandton and Johannesburg for fourteen years (1989-2003). The artist also travels to venues outside Gauteng to facilitate and consult for the Arts in Action community outreach initiative. Her artworks and articles have appeared in numerous publications. She lectured in Drawing, Painting Sculpture, Conceptual art and History of art at the University of South Africa between January 2001 and July 2004.
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