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Artist Biography and Exhibitions

James de Villiers, based in Johannesburg, is a mainly self-taught artist having undergone periods of art studies at Unisa and the Free State Technicon in the 1970s.

Greatly inspired by his mother who was a keen amateur painter, he started becoming interested in art at the age of 12.

He has a background in the printing industry and from thereon followed many work paths as retail display artist, advertising, magazine, book and graphic designer, illustrator, theatrical props maker, DJ, electronic music experimentalist and newspaper infographic artist. During this time he was also an active fine artist and ran several of his own experimental galleries.


De Villiers's first exhibition was a one-person show in 1985 at the Market Gallery in Newtown, Johannesburg.


He was responsible for the organisation and hosting of the Fringe exhibitions of the first Africus Biennale in 1995.


In 2014 de Villiers started artmaking on a fulltime basis. He works with realism and abstraction creating mixed media drawings, oil and acrylic paintings and silkscreened artworks. His artworks are in many collections in South Africa and abroad.


De Villiers's work is a meditation on the state of nature, its decay and regeneration, ecology and "making the invisible forces of nature visible". He is equally influenced by the growth and decay of plants in a garden and the discoveries of the James Webb Telescope and the Large Hadron Collider.


 His art is greatly inspired by William Blake:


"To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour."

-Auguries of Innocence




At present most of De Villiers's artwork is exhibited and sold online.
He has also recently completed two 2m x 3m private commissions

  • 2022 Group Exhibition StateoftheART Gallery, Cape Town

  • 2021 July-Aug: Affordable Art Fair 2021 at EDG2020 Gallery, Kyalami, Johannesburg.
    Awarded second prize for Vortex, a multimedia screenprinted work on paper.

  • 2020 Exhibited and sold artworks online. Completed a large painting commission.

  • 2019 Exhibited paintings at The Pencil Art Foundation in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal

  • 2018 July: Group show at White River Gallery, Mpumalanga, titled "Na die Maal" (After the Meal)

  • 2018 May Paintings exhibited at StateoftheART Gallery, Cape Town

  • 2018 April onwards. Group exhibition at The Art of Silver Gallery in Cullinan

  • 2017 11 Feb-12 March "Untitled" group exhibition at the Moor Gallery Franschhoek

  • 2017 Jan 7- Feb 5 "Genre" group exhibition at the Moor Gallery Franschhoek

  • 2016 "Ephemeral Pleasures" group exhibition at the Moor Gallery Franschhoek

  • 2016 August- Oct: "Muse Montage" group exhibition at Eclectica Design and Art

  • 2016 July: A pastel painting titled "After the Battle" accepted by the Delville Wood Memorial Museum in the Somme, France

  • 2016 July 7-23 Group exhibition Scapes: Rhythms of an environment at StateoftheART Gallery, Cape Town

  • 2016 June: Group exhibition at Halifax Art Gallery in Parkhurst, Johannesburg 
    2016 May 5: Optical Diversions, a group exhibition at Eclectica Design and Art Gallery, Cape Town

  • 2016 January: Executed a commission to do a series of skies for a client of The Gavin Project.

  • 2015 Exhibited works at Gavin Project, Arts on Main, Maboneng, Johannesburg.

  • 2015 September. Rogue Art 1 group exhibition at Carfax, Johannesburg

  • 2015 July. Studio exhibition at Carfax to open the artist's new studio.

  • 2013 October Solo exhibition: “Decay Transfigured” at Gallery on 6th in Parkhurst, Johannesburg.

  • 2013 Group show at Gallery on 6th in Parkhurst, Johannesburg.

  • 2011 Group show “Altered Pieces” at the Thompson Gallery

  • 2010 March: Solo exhibition “Earth & Sky” at Right on the Rim at Arts on Main in Johannesburg.

  • 2009 Participated in GTZ International Photographic workshop and exhibition, “Diversity, the impulse for development”. Johannesburg and Pretoria.

  • 2009 “War and Hate” group exhibition at Right on the Rim, Arts on Main, Johannesburg

  • 2006 “Nature Morte” a solo exhibition at the Gordart gallery in Melville, Johannesburg

  • 2005 March 11 - 18: Solo exhibition “Earth & Sky” at the Gerard Sekoto Gallery, Alliance Francaise, Johannesburg

  • 2005 January 16 - February 9: Exhibition “Forty Hand painted Pictures” at Gordart Gallery

  • 2004 Exhibited on group shows at Gordart Gallery, Melville “For the Record/Off the Record”. Organised and performed in “Mayday Experimental music evening” at Gordart.

  • 2004 Exhibited in Christmas Miniature show Gordart Gallery

  • 1999 Participated in group exhibition touring Mexico and the US, “Transmigrations 1999”

  • 1998 Participated in group show, ”Buttons” at the Civic Gallery, Johannesburg

  • 1997 The Beat Hotel Carfax, Newtown, Johannesburg
    Eurovirus #1, 2 & 3 exhibitions at Carfax, Newtown, Johannesburg

  • 1997 Participated as an artist in Jahn Beukes’ “Group Spiral” music production

  • 1996 “Landscapes”, two man show with Pieter Swanepoel at Gallery Palette, Pretoria Art Gallery

  • 1995 Curators Choice Exhibition, Rembrandt Gallery, Johannesburg

  • 1994 “Biting The Ballot”, Rembrandt Gallery, Johannesburg

  • 1994 Group Show at the ICA, Johannesburg

  • 1993 Solo exhibition at the Long Gallery, S A Association of Arts Gallery, Cape Town

  • 1993 Johannesburg Corporate Art, a group show at the Artists Co-Operative, Midrand

  • 1993 Group Show, Newtown Galleries, Johannesburg

  • 1993 Alternative Photographic Print Workshop, University Witwatersrand and the ICA with Bob Cnoops

  • 1993 “Drawing with light”, group show, ICA, Johannesburg

  • 1993 Group Show, Anti-Gravity Gallery, Rosebank, Johannesburg

  • 1992 Usable Art, Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Johannesburg

  • 1992 Exhibition/demonstration at the annual South African Art Historians Conference, UNISA, Pretoria

  • 1992 101 Miniatures, ICA, Johannesburg

  • 1992 “Made in August” exhibition at the Newtown Galleries, Johannesburg

  • 1991 Kempton Park Art Competition, overall and category winner

  • 1985 First Solo exhibition at the Market Theatre Gallery, Newtown, Johannesburg

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