Gerrie van Tonder is a contemporary impressionist from South Africa working in oils. He currently lives in Scarborough, South Africa were he continues to work on his paintings.
He grew up in Philippolis, a small town in the arid part of the Karoo Desert in South Africa. He started painting at a young age and has never stopped. Gerrie is a qualified architect (1987) with his own architectural practice in Scarborough, which, apart from a 5 year break between 2010 to 2015, to paint full-time, is a career he continues to pursue. He is mostly self-taught as an artist, as he has had little formal art training. In Cape Town he had art classes with Ryno Swart, who influenced him greatly. He has held exhibitions, solo and group, in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town.
He paints small to medium-sized works primarily in plein air. His work explores interior and exterior spaces and the effects of light and shadows on surfaces, and evokes a strong feeling of atmosphere. His medium and technique are simultaneously simple (at times almost minimalistic) and modern. His style is impressionistic and evokes a strong feeling of atmosphere. This is all the more remarkable when one realizes how little descriptive content is provided by the work, and that one's response is almost exclusively the result of the simultaneously bold and sensitive application of light and color. This is all the more remarkable when one realises how little descriptive content is provided by the work, and that one’s response is almost exclusively the result of his application of light and colour. His great love is the beauty and allure of the Karoo, a subject he continually returns to.
He paints what he loves, and what speaks to him. He paints for the senses – for feeling, seeing, hearing, touching, smelling – and oil paint lends itself to that. His favourite subject matter is still the Karoo – its landscapes, architecture, people and interiors.
In Gerries own words:
“There is a search in my interiors for something unknown, a light, a source, a search to make sense. Sometimes I have glimpses to what this may be, but it is elusive, never seen, never shown. It is true to say that my interior paintings are symbolic of what is happening in my inner life.” - Gerrie van Tonder