Heather Gourlay-Conyngham
Heather Gourlay-Conyngham is a painter and art teacher working in the midlands of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Heather completed a BA Fine Arts degree from the University of Natal in 1978.
She has established a name for herself as a portrait artist and was one of the finalists in the Tatham Art Gallery's 2003 Portrait of King Cetshwayo competition. Heather has completed many corporate and privately commissioned portraits, notably the King Goodwill Zwelithini portrait which hangs in the Tatham Art Gallery.
In the portraits she does for commissions, Heather not only carries out the patron's requirements but she aims to instil a sense of life into the paintings. This is achieved by a meticulous technique of layering colours to give a lively richness but also by means of capturing the sitter's expression and gesture.
Photographs taken by the artist, as well as observation from life are used as references. The figure is often placed in a context that reflects something of the character and life of that person. Gourlay-Conyngham's paintings often include patterns that play a symbolic role. Mathematical references, particularly the circle, are seen in these patterns as well as in the formal structure of her compositions.
Her non-commissioned figurative paintings, many of which are of her family, reflect her interest in art history. These works often involve the translation of Western cultural icons into a context that emphasises and questions African Identity. She prefers to paint figures life-size and works in oil on both canvas and gesso board. Heather has participated in many group exhibitions between 1996 and 2002.

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