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Francois Johannes Gerber hails from Oudtshoorn, where he was born in 1956. He had his formal training at the Teachers College in Cape Town, where he received an HED in 1978. He later studied at the University of Stellenbosch, graduating in 1990 with a BA(Hons) in Fine Art. He also holds a Teachers Diploma from the Teachers Training College in Oudtshoorn.
Francois taught art at Despatch High School until 1993. The artist confesses to finding it difficult to speak about his own art or to evaluate it critically.
He concentrates on still life painting, but also draws. His still life paintings are relatively classical although slightly fragmented in their composition, and reflect a lively awareness of colour-quality. He often uses the cactus plant meaningfully in his art, and more recently the clown, eg against a political background.
Like Monet, he does not regard himself as much of a theoretician, and does not really have an interest in commentary and involvement or so-called “engagement.” Despite his stated distance from these matters, his more recent work may be said to embody a certain degree of commentary on the situation of art in the “new South Africa”, probably in response to an article by Hermien Dommisse on the future of Western culture-orientated art in South Africa.
In the final analysis, it is clear that Francois has an abiding interest in realism. Francois has exhibited officially on only a limited number of occasions, including the GAP group exhibition and the annual Eastern Cape Art exhibition. His work has also been exhibited in Paarl, Stellenbosch and George, and forms part of many private collections.