Ulriche Jantjes • In the midst

Ulriche Jantjes • In the midst

Ulriche Jantjes • In the midst

In the midst – Artist’s Statement

Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2024

In the midst is a body of work portraying moments of pause in an ever-changing world.

To be “in the midst” is to be in the middle of an activity or space. It is a moment or place of flux. The paintings and monotypes explore this in-betweenness through interior scenes that are juxtaposed with expansive exteriors. A figure peering out of the window. A landscape with a deep blue pool. By pairing inside scenes with the outside world, In the midst brings forth an element of reflection.

For Ulriche Jantjes, these reflections, these conversations between the interior and exterior, are not academic in purpose. They explore a very personal exchange with the landscape in which her own heritage unfolds. Nestled in the Overberg region of the Western Cape, Elim is a Moravian settlement established by German missionaries in 1824. This old village, characterised by whitewashed thatched houses, carries the origins of her ancestral lineage.

In contemplating relationships between history, land, and her sense of belonging, Ulriche deepens her relationship with this mission settlement, which is home to the history of her forefathers. Despite growing up and living in Cape Town, she has been a regular visitor to Elim since her childhood. During these visits, and in her practice, she pieces together narratives gathered in the village. Stories of walking, working and living there are combined with her personal connection to and heritage in the mission settlement.

Ulriche's oil paintings and monotypes depict features of the exterior – the indigenous landscape, agricultural fields, bodies of water, and mountain ranges – in conversation with interiors. Both domestic and outside scenes emerge from a point of contemplation. Simultaneously, the artworks evoke a sense of anticipation, suggesting an act of looking out from within.

She also includes figures in her work, “characters” who are often depicted as bystanders, observing or engaging with objects in the paintings. They are often seated on a common chair or bench – items she associates with a moment of pause.

These interior objects might also be found hidden in a landscape. By incorporating seating in the open, she places the contemplative figure outside, establishing an inherent link between the two worlds that inform each other.

In the midst speaks about cognisance, reflection, and self-awareness. It is concerned with the history and heritage that give Jantjes roots and a sense of place in the world. Through the paintings and monotypes, she creates a locale for rumination to take place. In doing so, she invites viewers to identify their own personal sense of belonging in the midst of a world forever in flux.


More about Ulriche, the artist

 Ulriche likes

  • the histories of small rural towns, the buildings and landscapes
  • indigenous plants.
  • agricultural fields and practices - sowing and harvesting.
  • colours in the country side: Greens, browns, yellows and blues. These colours inspire her colour pallet.

Ulriche investigates

  • Elim, a small mission settlement, and the root of her ancestral lineage.
  • Elim is a stepping stone in the exploration of her heritage and sense of belonging in the world.

Ulriche wants

  • to use oral histories, stories about the community and the landscape as visual metaphors in her work.
  • to utilise the traditions or rituals as a subject matter.
  • to evoke a warm feeling of home with her use of brown tones.

Ulriche has

  • a BAFA and MFA at Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT.
  • participated in multiple group exhibitions in Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Baardskeerderbos.
  • taught painting at Michaelis School of Fine Art with distinction.