This South African maverick artist based in the quaint rural village of Darling, near the Cape West Coast, draws much inspiration and perspective from his surroundings. For over 30 years he has dedicated his time to his artistic career, producing vibrant and expressive artworks with his distinct and colourful style. Painting mostly from memory, he succeeds in capturing the essence of his subject matter, whether it be a desert landscape, a still life with fruit or the moon surrounded by stars.
Maritz seems to maintain a discreet metamorphic distance from the artworks themselves, in order not to get his hands "dirty", something which he feels could spoil the delicate artistic game. When making art, he also employs a general tongue in cheek approach, and other personal slide rules, in a rather bewildering world of private artistic conundrums and secret references - a range of meanings invented and accumulated through the thirty odd years of working. Throughout Maritz's work, visual narrative multiply, inform and are grafted onto subsequent works. He refers laconically as his personal lucky packet of artistic parallels.
Over the years he has experimented with a number of media, but regularly returns to his first choice of material, enamel paint on board. The brilliant luminosity of colour which he achieves in this medium is a widely recognised aspect of his style.
"His work is in a deceptively naive, retro technique that manages to convey a sense of both the meaningful and the decorative - to use that loaded term which in the art work implies art that's not serious. Yet there's nothing pretty-pretty about this lot, or the hot, bright colours - often ordinary household paint he used in his parents' garage when he was young, and still uses, much to the horror of purists." Hilary Prendini Toffoli, Good Taste Magazine, 2009
Maritz exhibits his working his private gallery, named the MSG (Maritz Studio Gallery), a gabled dorphuis built in 1927 in Darling. Apart from works in all major museums, corporate, public and private South Africa art collections, his work has also been exhibited abroad.
Text - Nicolaas Maritz
Some biographical details:
Born in 1959 in Pretoria, South Africa, Nicolaas Maritz graduated from the Univeristy of Cape Town's Macaelis School of Fine Art. He now lives in Darling, a country village outside of Cape Town. His work has been included in art collections of the Arabella Hotel, Didata, University of Cape Town, the E. Oppenheimer & Sons Art Collection, the Johannesburg and the Nmibian National Art Gallery.
1976: First one man exhibition at the Eastern Province Arts Association Gallery, Port Elizabeth.
2008: Unmentionables/Onnoembaarhede exhibition, UCT Irma Stern Gallery.
Namibian Landscape Paintings, Omba Arts Trust Gallery, Windhoek, Namibia.
2009: Paintings & Prints, Kalk Bay Modern, Cape Town.
2010: Mermaids & Mountains, Kalk Bay Modern, Cape Town.
2012: Lucky Packet Exhibition No.2, Kalk Bay Modern, Cape Town
Maritz has exhibited widely, including the Valparaiso Biennale, the Cape Town Triennials, and since 1992 his anual September studio exhibition at the MSG (Maritz Studio Gallery) in Darling.
1992: NCSS CBC Notable Children's Trade Book Award (USA).
1994: Parents' Choice Illustration Honor (USA).