Home home.php CV Portfolio Inspiration Contact Mailing List
Monopoly 4
Monopoly 4
Gabrielle Raaff is a painter who lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.

For 15 years she worked predominantly in oil on canvas and in 2006 began to explore the more ethereal medium of watercolour and ink on paper and wood.

Raaff's fascination lies with the people and architecture of the South African city and neighbourhoods. She views these figures and spaces from unusual perspectives and by doing this captures a pattern that reveals visual and social elements unique to this country.

Her work is an urban inquiry into the essence of certain spatial conditions, both abstract and specific. By drawing with the use of shape, her compositions are abundant with clarity, and are innately architectural.
Figures are painted using few brushstrokes in an attempt to reveal key characteristics and body language through the gesture of a mark.

An exhibition of recent paintings at Salon 91
Feb-March 2015

For many years I have been preoccupied with the ethereal interpretation of the urban landscape and its people, using water colour and ink.
The medium is gentle yet precise, allowing little forgiveness for error. The subject is out there, the other, the external
and has allowed me to view and interpret with detachment.

In this new body of work titled 'Night Watch', I return to oil (water based), a medium used in my early career and with it, a return to a more visceral exploration of the internal landscape of the subconscious. There is a re-kindling of the mysterious chemistry of the artist, the paint, the surface and intuition.

These works began in 2013, very instinctively, with a desire to work in a more substantial medium and one which would allow for more layering, allusiveness and playfulness as I began to navigate my emotional landscape. The evolution of the body of work has been a slow but steady one.

The work began at a time in my life where parenthood and a need to rediscover the self within relationship to others, set the stage for creating works which explore where my personal world of memory and dreams meet and merge.
Becoming a parent puts one's own childhood into sharp focus and the responsibility of the task often leads to pockets of longing for the perceived simplicity of youth. Our memories of the past are after all just fragments of the truth.

The works in oil are heady with nostalgia yet the intense use of colour and deliberate scarcity of detail suggest a lack of ease similar to that of a dream or nightmare. The ink works on paper are inspired by full moon photographs of my garden taken in the early hours of the morning, a time when thoughts trigger memories, which in turn become dreams.

Together these paintings mark a shift in my personal process as a painter and with that the creating of fertile ground for the new.


Raaff works between her studio at home in Lakeside and her studio in Observatory.

Thank you for your interest and support.

Work currently on display:
  • NIGHT WATCH A solo show of recent paintings by Gabrielle Raaff opens 18th Feb at 6.30pm at Salon 91 in Kloof Street
  • In Fin Art. Wynberg. Cape Town
  • Works can be viewed by appointment at my studio 8 Lytton Street, Observatory
Visit my blog for regular updates on what's happening in my art and my life. Site by Artbeat