Born in Johannesburg, Liza Visagie studied at the University of South Africa before immigrating to Vancouver where she worked in printmaking, which would introduce her to legendary Canadian artists such as Jack Shadbolt and Gordon Smith. This experience would inspire her, in turn, to attend Emily Carr University and dedicate herself to a full-time painting career. Interestingly, she credits her long-term studies with local Vancouver painter Paul Chizik, also featured in this sale, for both elevating her craft and persuading her to adopt a contemporary approach to traditional oil painting techniques.
Visagie’s works consist primarily of landscape painting completed en plein-air; developing her sketches based on the shapes, tones, and colours of her surroundings and then finishing them in her studio. Water’s Edge is a study of a luminous and tranquil body of water juxtaposed with a verdant shore, dark reed and towering trees in the middle ground, underneath billowing clouds. Modelled with heavy impasto strokes which meticulously convey every detail, Visagie works upwards of an entire year on her larger works.
The still life Black Boots is of an everyday object in Canadian culture, a pair of riding boots belonging to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Presented as a work of high art, the black leather boots are depicted against a vivid crimson background, capturing strong memories of Canada’s past and contemporary future. Although the tall boots dominate the work and cast a dramatic shadow against the bold backdrop, the red background is significant itself by strongly recalling the scarlet colour of the Canadian flag. Conversely, Rockface offers a less expansive perspective, Visagie having chosen to highlight instead a steep escarpment dotted with evergreens, pinpointed on verso as Lethbridge in Alberta. Painted alongside Paul Chizik, Soft Pocket captures an autumn scene set in North Vancouver with barren trees offset by green vegetation peeking out from underneath the recently fallen snow.
Visagie has exhibited in various group and solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally; her works being collected across Canada, the United States, South Africa, Amsterdam, and Berlin.