Lettie Gardiner

lettie gardiner, south african artists, south african art

Lettie Gardiner held her first one-person exhibition in Johannesburg at Gallery 101 in 1971 and since then she has participated in numerous group shows and has held a number of solo exhibitions.

Gardiner's work sometimes consists of painted portraits executed on used industrial drawing paper. The artist maintains the previous scribbles, notes, cover-ups, folds and discolouration of the drawings of machine parts and instructions for their assembly.

The works are hung as a large wall installation, resembling mug shots or model agency-style headshots, ultimately confusing the boundaries between similarity, difference, familiarity and distance. Through the grid structure, Gardiner suggests an organizing principle but the additional suggestion of possible interchangeability "suggests a re-evaluation of accepted structures".

Lettie Gardiner is a quiet and very private person. This is reflected in the three prints that she made at The Artists' Press. Two of the images are close up portraits of a child in the one, and three adults in the other. All these people look out at the viewer and seem to question one as much as the viewer questions them.

The child appears to hide behind a screen. The engagement is at the same time simple and elusive. In the third print, she used a photograph of Herero sex slaves from German South West Africa as her starting point. In her image, she has managed to restore some dignity to these women. All three images have a fine background taken from a map and "blueprints" from the reef mines. These create a contextual web for the images to rest on and refer to colonial exploitation, socially and economically.

Prints available from The Artists' Press (A to L)

Artists list continues M to X

New Editions


south african art, limited edition prints, lithography

Title: Witwatersrand Women
Medium: Two colour lithograph
Paper size: 40 x 66 cm
Image size 39 x 60 cm
Edition size: 20
Price: R 2 300 (excl.VAT)

lettie gardiner, south african art, soiuth african portraits

Title: Boy at Doorway
Medium: Two colour lithograph
Size: 53.5 x 40 cm
Edition size: 20
Price: R 2 300 (excl.VAT)

lettie gardiner, south african art, limited edition prints, south african artist

Title: Two Men and a Woman
Medium: Two colour lithograph
Size: 40 x 61.5 cm
Edition size: 20
Price: R 2 300 (excl.VAT)