About The Artist
1938 - 2016
Judith Mason was born in Pretoria, in 1938. She matriculated at the Pretoria High School for Girls in 1956. She attended the University of Witwatersrand from 1957 and obtained a BA Degree in Fine Art in 1960. Her first solo exhibition was at Gallery 101, Johannesburg, in 1964 after winning second prize in U.A.T competition (1963).
Judith Mason's work is drawn or painted in reaction to her world: political events, comments that she has read, snippets of history or poetry which have caught her eye, or the experience of particular people or animals which are usually used in a symbolic context.
She was chosen to represent South Africa at the Venice Biennale in 1966 and took part in various Valparaiso and Sao Paolo Biennales in the 1970s. She taught painting at the University of the Witwatersrand (1963-78), the University of Pretoria, the Michaelis School of Fine Art in Cape Town, Scuola Lorenzo de' Medici in Florence, Italy from 1989-91 and acted as external examiner for under-graduate and post-graduate degrees at Pretoria, Potchefstroom, Natal, Stellenbosch and Cape Town Universities. During this time, her work became part of the National South African School and University curricula.
Today, with a career that spans more than 45 years, Judith Mason is one of South Africa’s most distinguished artists, working in a variety of media: oil painting, pencil drawing, print-making and mixed media. Mason is a technically disciplined artist, her technique has moved from the abstract of her earlier works to trompe l'oeil and delicately detailed passages in contrast to paint washes and splash marks.
She has exhibited frequently in South Africa in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria, Stellenbosch and George at various galleries such as the Goodman Gallery, Chelsea Gallery, Association of Arts Pretoria, Association of Arts Cape Town, Hout Street Gallery, Strydom Gallery, Dorp Street Gallery, Art on Paper, and Karen Mackerron Gallery. She has held exhibitions abroad in Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium, Chile, West Germany, Switzerland and the USA.
She has works in all major South African art collections as well as private and public collections in Europe and the U.S.A such as Yale University, and The Bodleian Library, Oxford. Public commissions include tapestries in collaboration with Margaret Stephens and stained–glass window designs for the Great Park Synagogue in Johannesburg.
"I paint in order to make sense of my life, to manipulate various chaotic fragments of information and impulse into some sort of order, through which I can glimpse a hint of meaning. I am an agnostic humanist possessed of religious curiosity who regards making artworks as akin to alchemy. To use inert matter on an inert surface to convey real energy and presence seems to me a magical and privileged way of living out my days."
Judith Mason, 2004
1938: Born Judith Seelander Menge in Pretoria
1977: Became a full-time artist
1980: Visited India and Nepal for the first time
1989 - 1991: Lived in Italy
1991 – 2000: Lived in Cape Town
Public Collections (Local)
Public Collections (Abroad)
Website of South African Artists