René Snyman

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René Snyman

South Africa

René Snyman is an international acclaimed South African artist living and working from her studio in Sir Lowry’s Pass in the Western Cape.  


Her paintings explore the effects of light on various surfaces like soil, skin or water. The artist draws her inspiration from nature, her childhood and her daily life experiences. It is second nature to her to be always on the lookout for a “subject” or theme, anything that “begs” to be drawn or painted. Often it is just the way the light falls and plays on a certain object that excites her.


René describes the essence of her artwork as intimacy: “this would really be the one word to describe my paintings – intimacy with the landscape, figures and the animals I portray. Everything that has a story to tell and has the element of life captures my attention.” Her aim is to draw attention to the beauty of creation with “in-your-face” compositions, never depicting nature as something distant. She likes to fill her surface with the subject and display it properly, to force people to see God’s creation in a new and close-up way.


René had poor eye sight since she was a little girl; it was only discovered when she was about 11 years old. So growing up in the Kalahari Desert close to the earth she imagined worlds on the sand and between the grasses. She learned to see the world from ground level and in detail. That which was far away, never registered or meant anything to her because it was completely out of focus. This disability had a major influence on her career as an artist. “Until this day this is how I perceive and relate to things around me. I love them to tower above me and be right up front”.


“Communication, as well as intimate and personal stories, also happen in a close by environment – the further something is removed from one in space, the more impersonal it become; the same with painting.” Her work is more interpersonal and interactive and less “distant” or removed from the viewer/observer.


As an artist she always looks for the underlying message locked up in the created world around us. “In order to understand and appreciate my work someone shouldn’t try to find out what the subject/object is all about, but for what it communicates, in other words what message it has,” she says.


On finishing a work of art, René distances herself from it so that it may fulfill its purpose. “The purpose of my work is to bless others, to feed their hunger for beauty and to communicate something of God that could change their lives.”


She travels often overseas to visit museums and Studies the work of master artists like John Singer Sargent and Joaquin Sorolla.

* This statement has been provided directly by the artist in association to their 14th International ARC Salon entries. This content has not been edited for typos or grammatical errors and has not been vetted for accuracy.