“Aviva: The Rural Years, Colour, Light, and Art of Life”
Aviva’s artistic journey was shaped by her rural upbringing and a deep connection to the countryside. Matriculating in 1978 with an Art distinction in Pretoria, she went on to earn a BA Degree and a postgraduate Diploma in Museum Technology at the University of Pretoria. Her life took a turn when she married Serett Maree, an engineer, and the couple spent three years in Gazankulu.
The move to the countryside ignited Aviva’s passion for art as she combined her love for a simple lifestyle with her innate artistic talent. It was during their time in Sibasa, Venda, that Aviva’s artistic prowess was first recognized. She participated in exhibitions hosted by the SA Embassy in Venda, held solo exhibitions in Makhado, and showcased her work in group exhibitions in Pretoria.
In 1990, the family relocated to Tzaneen, where Aviva’s annual art exhibitions became much-anticipated cultural events. During their ten-year stay in Tzaneen, Aviva also dedicated her time to teaching art to children of various ages.
In 2000, the Maree family found their home in Knysna, where they have resided ever since. Aviva’s journey is enriched with extensive experience in using acrylic paints and oil colors, and she is proudly represented by prestigious fine art galleries across the country. Since 2008, she has presented ten successful solo exhibitions.
Aviva’s art is an ode to the vibrant interplay of color and light, attributes that she studied through her deep admiration for Vincent van Gogh. She firmly believes that color has the power to express something inherently, and her confident brushwork is dedicated to capturing the essence of light. In her pursuit, Aviva has carved her own unique style, one that doesn’t adhere to trends but instead follows the path of her own creative intuition.
While Aviva respects the rules of composition and visual design, she is more interested in transcending the obvious, seeking a delicate balance and visual tension between different elements in her work.
Her paintings are a testament to the harmony found in everyday scenes. She pays meticulous attention to her sketches, skillfully capturing the graceful postures of her subjects. Aviva’s preferred subjects are women, as she admires the resilient and contented ways in which they work. Her goal is to reveal the inner strength that empowers women to thrive and provide for their families, regardless of the circumstances they face.
Aviva’s art is a reflection of the atmospheres she has absorbed and distilled from the places she has lived. Her imagination infuses a timeless quality into her extraordinary portrayals of ordinary people and their everyday lives. When viewers engage with her art, they are invited to use their own experiences to complete the stories depicted in the paintings, fostering a personal connection.
Aviva paints from the heart, unburdened by inhibition, infusing her work with depth and spiritual integrity. Her art embodies purity and simplicity, staying true to the essence of her name, and this spirit resonates with art enthusiasts both in her home country and abroad.
As Nicole Palmer, a photographer, aptly puts it, “The viewer can easily interact with the paintings, their subject matter, the brilliance of the colors, and confident brushstrokes, making the work come alive, full of depth and emotions.”
Artwork of Aviva Maree exhibited at Crouse Art Gallery. Original art of more than 60 top South African Artists – Since 1999.