Entertainment Art On the Surface by Mervyn Gers

On the Surface by Mervyn Gers

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Mervyn Gers grew up in Danielskuil, a very small village bordering Die Groen Kalahari in the Northern Cape.

Although interested, Mervyn didn’t have the chance to study art as the small local school didn’t teach it. But, from as long as he can remember, he has loved the beauty of the landscapes, textures and colours that belong only to the province of his birth.

He went to Bloemfontein Varsity to study Communications and, he says, the nearest he came to art classes was as a model for art students in order to pay for his studies. He did History of art for a while, but decided that he was far more interested in the practical rather than the theory.

“I played with clay for the first time in 1983 and really loved it” said Mervyn. “But building a career got in the way.” Mervyn worked in the communications industry going from PR to marketing. He was offered a position as Programme Manager for Radio Kontrei and he jumped at it. After 7 years the station was privatized and Mervyn became Station Director, followed by Marketing Director.

Mervyn is the man who changed Radio Kontrei into KFM, a really great success story. KFM is now the biggest and most popular station in the Western Province. He eventually started pottery in the late 80’s doing weekly classes at Tom van Hove for two to three years. “I could not continue as I could only work once or twice a week for 3 hours after work. It just took too long to finish one object and I lost interest. “

Mervyn stopped “formal work” at the beginning of 2001 and began buying, renovating and selling houses. He built studios attached to these houses but, because the end product was always good, people kept making him offers that he could not refuse! It seemed third time lucky as, when the third house was completed, he stayed. He eventually started pottery full time in 2006.

“I am fascinated with ceramics from the Far East, especially Japan, Korea and China. Most of the work done is influenced by Japanese designs and glazes. I especially love the Hagi, Shino and Celadon glazes.”

Mervyn spent two years perfecting his own glazes until he found a ‘look’ he was happy with. ‘Each piece has 20 layers of glaze and is fired a minimum of 5 times. In fact, my use of very thick glazes almost changes the work from clay into glass’ said Gers. And that is what makes his pieces so unique. The work he is exhibiting is mostly decorative.

Mervyn is now beginning to add colour glazes to his artworks as most of his current pieces are done using black, grey, white and cream.

Venue: Rust en Vrede Gallery, 10 Wellington Rd, Durbanville. Tel: (021) 976 4691.
Gallery Hours: Mon - Fri: 9:00am to 5:00pm, Sat: 9:00am to 1:00pm
Duration: 5 - 28 May 2009