South African, Munich-based artist Liesel Beukes embeds narratives into each of her bright, richly textured and surreal mixed media paintings. Her bold compositions foreground one or two vibrant colors, often a deep blue or warm orange, whose evocative power she attributes to the time she spent growing up in South Africa amidst bright landscapes and strong sunlight. She melds figurative images like portraits and plants with collaged patterns, flowing abstract forms and embossed ridges and lines that lend sculptural qualities to the dramatic visual hybrids. This fusion of techniques produces gripping yet mysterious images.
Beukes is careful never to make the stories that inspired her pieces too overt, often deploying collaged and painted images in enigmatic and incongruous ways to emphasize their complexity. The resulting works can be read in any number of ways, none of which seems to dominate any one canvas. Rather, much like the colors in her palette, the narrative fragments in Beukes’ paintings maintain a beguiling and seductive harmony.