Silhouette of an earring made of scrap metals by Yvonne de Wit.
Private Gallery is located in Napier, Overberg, Western Cape, South Africa; about 90 minutes drive from Cape Town Airport. The Overberg is known for its stunning landscapes and ever changing skies. A true attraction for photographers from around the globe. Around Napier is where Herman takes most of his landscape pictures. Here a few to show off the beauty of the ‘Heart of the Overberg’. On Instagram follow him to keep updated with the latest shots: @hermanvanbon
From an interview with Jeré Möller of ‘Visit Overberg‘
Herman van Bon – An artist unleashed
Sitting down to chat with fine art photographer Herman van Bon is a bit like jumping on a magic carpet. A few seconds in and you are time traveling to visit the ancestors. Minutes later you are standing with him at the very edge of space, pondering heaven, hell and the wild beauty of it all. Herman is a well of stories, a maze of great questions and a master of his craft.
You have been described as quirky, complex, playful and very creative. So here is my first question. In your own words, who is Herman van Bon?
Well, I think I am an adult who kept my childhood imagination alive. I have a very wide field of interests and I do love to have fun with photography. I was born between the dykes of Holland and worked as a photojournalist on the technical side of things for many years. It took me through the whole wide world. About 17 years ago my wife Yvonne and I moved to South Africa to find space and breathe fresh air. We settled in the Overberg and love living here.
Someone said you are the Hieronymous Bosch of the digital era. How would you describe your work and style?
I like to photograph landscapes especially during early mornings, in the golden hour. But taking a picture is just the beginning as I enjoy playing with it. I explore and just let it flow to see where it might go. It can take weeks to come together and the end result can be landscapes, haikus, photographic mixed media and imaginary photography next to abstract and portrait photography.
Something that is regularly reflected in my work is my interest in the universal archetypes imbedded in our ancient human heritage. I find it interesting how they are awakened through the associations we sometimes make when looking at images. I also find the interaction between light and dark, good and evil fascinating. Especially subject matter that touches beyond religion and the best way I can explain this is through a quote from Albert Einstein,
“The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. It is the power of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms – this knowledge, this feeling, is at the centre of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong to the rank of devoutly religious men.”
Herman so if we get down to it, what really inspire you?
Simply put, beauty. You know beauty can be in the small details of an even ugly looking subject. And the fact that some rules are there to be broken.
You mentioned settling in the Overberg about 17 years ago. Do you have any favourite places that you enjoy shooting at?
Yes definitely, the rolling hills and changing skies of the Overberg is a joy to any landscape photographer. I have many spots that I enjoy shooting, but let me highlight three for you:
– Napier and the town’s surroundings are stunning during Springtime and Autumn, just after the harvest. The Schietpad is especially amazing, you can get lost in there!
– Near Barrydale, the Warmwaterberg is beautiful. Stunning mountain views. Definitely a favourite.
– Elgin Valley is a magical place. I recommend taking a good hike up and the best time is during August.
Last question Herman. Where do you and Yvonne go to unwind here in your home town Napier?
Have to say we are still relatively new in Napier. It’s been just about a year and I can tell you, this is a town with a lot to discover. It’s difficult to mention just one place. We enjoy visiting Napier Farmstall, The Fox Pub for lunch, Pascal’s for dinner and for the best pizza in the Overberg, The Suntouched Inn.
Visit, view and buy some of his work here: Private Gallery Napier
One of this last imaginaries: “He’s Back’
“Artists are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap to conclusions that logic cannot reach.” – A. Nomynous
‘The fish that went fly-about’ is inspired by the Australian aboriginal legend ‘The fish became the moon’. In the time known as ‘Dreamtime’ the world took shape, the ancestors retired into the earth, into the sky, into the clouds and into the creatures, and planted in the earth, as the ancestors call it, the ‘seed power’. Every creature and every mountain and every stream and waterhole and rock and river is implanted with this seed, which gives off a vibration, and this is the Earth’s inner dreaming. It is sacred, like so many of the Dreamtime stories. ‘The fish became the moon’ is a story about two sisters catching a fish and seeing it climb into a tree and float into the sky where it became round and slowly disappeared behind the horizon. There are BTW different versions of this tale in Arnhems Land, East of Darwin as I discovered during 6 weeks walkabout in 1994.
The fish in this photo-graphic is a sculpture of artist Ulrich Riek from Napier.
From 11 June on show in Walker Bay Art Gallery in Hermanus. Framed 90 x 60 cm. Only ONE print available.
We both are present at the Hermanus FynArts from 8 to 18 June in Hermanus, Western Cape, South Africa. Yvonne exhibits her jewelry designs in Hermanus gallery. 9 to 11 and 16 to 18 June she will be present there herself.
As for Herman: Try to find his work in one of the different galleries around. Have a great week in Hermanus.
BTW during both this coming weekends Private Gallery will be closed.
The beauty in the dust
“The moon is bland in colour. I call it shades of grey … And to find orange soil on the moon was a surprise.” Gene Cernan, astronaut, Apollo 10, Apollo 17
When artist Yvonne de Wit came to South Africa from her native Netherlands, it was with an open mind and with what became a growing fascination in the different types of rock and soils that the southern part of this great and diverse continent had to offer.
Through experimentation, she discovered that grinding diverse stones and pieces of rock found in different locations, offered up extraordinary colours, unusual ‘dusts’ that, when framed in silver, produced jewelry that reflected the land in a very different way.
Ideally, one needs to handle each piece of her collections to see, understand and appreciate the skill with which she works. Consider her chandelier earrings, for example. The artist explains that she picked up stones, ground them finely and then felt they would work as three ‘pendants’ from the ear. But they needed to balance. If one looks at the final pieces, one will see how delicately, intricately and exquisitely each pendant hangs, individually, from a tiny common point. They are not soldered together; each of the three pendants somehow hangs perfectly in place. And in harmony with its opposite piece on the other ear.
For the artist, this says something about nature, and our place in it. How, ideally, our relationship with soil, air and water should be in perfect balance. How delicate that relationship is. And what surprises the dust of the earth harbours for us, despite our many preconceptions. Like the astronaut who expected shades of grey on the moon — and found orange. While Yvonne has an innate connection to the soil beneath her feet, she recognises that water has an inevitable and appealing connection. During whale- watching in Hermanus one year, she was fascinated not just by the creatures themselves, but also by their habits. The result? Her finely crafted ‘whale’ pendant. No, it is not the animal itself she has re-created (although many might think so). The artist was entranced by the very fine combination of water and air, expelled from the blow-hole as the whale rises to the surface and exhales. Yvonne has captured a moment essential to life on earth — exhalation before inhalation.