As a contemporary artist and designer working in Scotland, Jacques Pretorius's work seeks to explore the tensions between a collective cultural identity and personal expression. Complex and moody compositions attempt to frame the effect environment and architecture have on the human experience. The result is a continuos body of emotionally arresting work, expressed with indelible modern clarity using charcoal on paper as the medium of choice.
In the early 1990s, he studied his BA in Graphic Design at WITS Technikon-renamed University of Johannesburg post democracy-where he was honoured as the Best Final Year student in Drawing.
As a South African-born Afrikaner, he was inspired by his native country's epic landscapes and wildlife. However, the inconsolability of growing up in a sleepy, white and complacent Apartheid-era Johannesburg led to his leaving for the US, Middle East and United Kingdom, where he spent many years working within the commercial creative design field and fine art. His art has been consistently acquired by private investors in the US, Britain and South Africa.
Jacques held his first solo exhibition in 2007, at the Mall of the Emirates Gallery in Dubai. In 2009, he returned to South Africa for his exhibition, 'Explorations', at the Pyramid Conference and Venue Centre in Johannesburg. In 2013, he exhibited at the Richard Calquhoun Gallery in Aberdeen.
Specific influences that have shaped his eye are varied. From the subversive films of Werner Hertzog and David Lynch, to the radical and progressive talents of William Kentridge and Francis Bacon. The evocative landscapes of John Constable and Scottish artist Peter Doig have nourished his inspiration.
These have informed his distinctive exploration of theme, subject and style. Jacques is drawn to dramatic landscapes-elemental skies, fierce naturalism-and apposed architectural elements. There is also a piercing loneliness in his expression of birds, large animals and isolated human figures. Expressive line, powerful compositions and laboured surfaces favour the restrained drama of his best work.
Jacques and his wife, Vee, live in Scotland, where they are naturalised citizens.