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About Mandy Lake

‘There is something about the ferocious passion with which Mandy approaches her sea paintings that tells me that it is Mandy herself who so desires to be able to encounter the magic of those waters in the paintings she makes. These are not paintings simply made to please others, to decorate their walls, to satisfy some need to produce pictures. These are paintings made for the sea, in celebration of sea, and may I even dare to say, are the product of a deep love affair between the artist and her subject – the practice of painting being more than demonstrating her considerable skills, rather being a means of capturing this capricious loved one, stealing moments encountered and fixing them forever in her soul through pigment and brush.’

Julia Teale

Mandy Lake was born in Surrey, UK in 1968 and grew up in Johannesburg. Her love for painting developed under the tutelage of André Naudé and Simon Stone. Mandy earned a degree in history and art history at the University of Cape Town, and studied sculpture and illustration at the Foundation School of Art in Cape Town.

Mandy has had a professional career in design, illustration and publishing, yet continued to explore sculptural ceramics and painting. In 2009, she joined Julia Teale’s Spencer Street Studios in Salt River.

With Julia’s inspiration and encouragement Mandy’s love for the ocean became a passion to paint it, to explore and seek to capture the wondrousness of its ever-changing moods, the ceaseless movement, the power, the light, the tranquillity.

On our southern African coast we are surrounded by and intimately connected to the sea. Mandy’s journey has been cross-dimensional. One is the impressionism, the moods and palettes of the ocean where a single moment can turn from powerful, dark and threatening to sparkling and lucent in an instant, with an infinity of shades in between. Here Mandy is influenced by Claude Monet, his view of the natural world and the ever changing effects of light, his capturing of its momentary and transient effects.

The other is perspective. Mandy’s works are not seascapes. They are paintings of the sea itself. Here, she draws inspiration from American contemporary artist, Ran Ortner. Ortner’s large-scale paintings of surging oceans have no horizon, land or sky. Their focus is on the ocean alone, the moodiness, the submerged power and ultimately, evoking the visceral attraction that we human beings have for the body of water that birthed us.

Finally the translucent qualities of the ocean. At times it is clear and transparent allowing the light to dive beneath the surface and illuminate hidden treasures. At others it is moody and translucent as the light slows and thickens casting shadows in the deep. At sunrise and sunset, the light skims low across the water, reflecting off surfaces with greater density, as waves break against the shore and scatter a kaleidoscope of colour.

In April 2016 Mandy held her first solo exhibition, Immersion at The Cape Gallery. Early in 2017 Mandy joined Tracey Payne at Victoria Art Studio in Woodstock, and her second solo exhibition Sheer water, was held at the Cape Gallery in 2018.

“I want viewers of my paintings to feel, even just briefly, a thrill, a resonance, a primeval pull that, yes, I want to be there, it feels good. I think we do all have that deep affinity and longing.”

Mandy Lake works primarily in oil on canvas, she is continually exploring the beauty oils have in their translucency to allow light to shine from within. Building up layer upon layer of transparent oil and reserving the opaques for the whites of the waves. She is acutely aware of the light and subtle shifting hues from the moment she plots her composition.

 “We must find time to observe things…as though with our thinking we were in the things themselves. We must dive down into things, into their inner thought-activity. If we do so, we shall gradually perceive how we are entering the very life of things. We no longer have the feeling that the things are outside, and we are here in our shell, thinking of them; but we begin to feel how our thought is living and moving in the things themselves. To a man who has attained this high degree, a new world opens up.”

– Rudolf Steiner

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