Walter Meyer is well-known and revered for his haunting paintings of the dry landscapes of the western parts of South Africa, and his documentation of the decay and decline of South Africa’s white towns. Althought he’s been criticised for being a sort of latter day Pierneef who worked in a traditional medium and style and shying away from contemporary questions, his proponents point out that Meyer’s landscapes were far from the idealised empty landscapes of Pierneef, but rather an honest and disconcerting unmasking of the troubled social reality underneath.
Meyer was a master with the brush and admired by his peers for getting the unique washed out colours of the South African land and sky just right – a feat that escaped many a great painter. His use of colour brought him admirers far beyond regular art circles.
This work is in all respects not typical of Meyers work. It hails from a period of great experimentation for the artist in the late eighties while Meyer was studying at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf in Gemany. For a while he was influenced by his tutor Michael Buthe’s transgressive and esoteric style. He was probably also influenced by the American neo-expressionists like Basquiat.
What strikes one immediately about the work is the rich and rough texture of the oil paint that was applied in thick uneven layers, and the direct and brutal emotional connection that it makes with the viewer.
The work is signed and framed. The canvas is 40 x 50 cm and the frame 48 x 57 cm.