Barbara Wildenboer

Wildenboer is a conceptualist using various photographic processes and techniques bringing across ideas of memory held and lost and the imprint of fleeting life recorded. Most of her works are combinations of mixed media with photography. She explores underlying notions of time and the paradoxical relationship between past and present states of being. Recently, her focus shifted to paper cutting and altered books. Through the process of altering books, she emphasizes our understanding of the abstract terms of science through metaphor, and the assumed authority of text.

"My artistic focus is on paper based work and I work mainly with the medium of collage, paper sculpture and altered books.  I recycle old and redundant books or old atlases/ maps to create paper sculptures that comment on on environmental issues e.g. endangered plant and animal life as well as the phenomenon of global warming and climate chaos. I often use photographic processes as a means of collecting and as a means to explore the idea of traces of things which are transient, elusive or no longer present."

Barbara Wildenboer was born in Pretoria, South Africa in 1973. She completed a BA (Ed) with majors in English literature, Psychology and Pedagogics at the University of Pretoria in 1996. In 2003 she obtained a Bachelor of Visual Arts from UNISA followed by a Masters in Fine Art (with distinction) from the Michaelis School of Art at the University of Cape Town in 2007.

Wildenboer has been awarded several international residencies such as the Unesco-Aschberg residency (Jordan, 2006), the Al Mahatta residency (Palestine, 2009) and the Red De Residencias Artisticas Local (Colombia, 2011).  In 2011 she was nominated and subsequently selected as one of the top 20 finalists for the Sovereign African Arts Award for which she received the Public Choice Prize.

She has participated in several group exhibitions both nationally and internationally and had her 5th solo exhibition entitled Library of the Infinitesimally Small and Unimaginably Large at ErdmannContemporary in 2011. Her next solo exhibition entitled Canaries in the coalmine was hosted by ErdmannContemporary in May 2012.  Wildenboer lives and works in Cape Town. 

Text - ErdmannContemporary Gallery and Barbara Wildenboer