Barbara Wildenboer (b.1973) explores philosophical concepts of aesthetics across a variety of mediums. By drawing inspiration from the work of individual scientists, discoverers, authors and mathematicians, she exposes the connections between a myriad of life forms – from the microscopic to the immense. Her main focus is on environmental aesthetics and the mathematical sublime (an aesthetic concept first articulated by Immanuel Kant). She sees environmental aesthetics as something that not only encompasses natural territories, but as also extending to human interaction with the natural realm. The work is concerned with the idea of the mathematical sublime and how a boundless, formless universe could be regarded as something that transcend the limits of reason.
Her work mostly consists of photo- and paper-construction and digitally animated photographic sculpture. She uses a combination of analogue and digital processes to create sculptural photographic work which explores phenomena such as temporality, fractal geometry and the interconnectedness of all living things and often works across academic disciplines such as science, mathematics, philosophy, mechanics and theatre to create systems/structures/composites that draw emphasis to our understanding of experience as mediated through text or language and our understanding of the abstract terms of science through the use of imagery and metaphor.
Barbara Wildenboer lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. She completed a BA (Ed) with majors in English literature, Psychology and Pedagogics at the University of Pretoria in 1996 followed by a Bachelor of Visual Arts from UNISA. In 2007 she obtained a Masters in Fine Art (with distinction) from the Michaelis School of Art at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. The title of her Master’s thesis was Present Absence / Absent Presence and the research was concerned with aspects of melancholy, loss and longing as is embodied by the photographic medium. From 2009-2016 she was working as the head of the Photography Department at the Cityvarsity College of Creative Arts. She has been awarded several international residencies such as the Unesco-Aschberg residency (Jordan, 2006), the Al Mahatta residency (Palestine, 2009) and the Red De Residencias Artisticas Local (Colombia, 2011), the Rimbun Dahan artist residency (Penang, Malaysia, 2013) and L’Ateleier Sur Seine in France in 2017. In 2011 She was nominated and subsequently selected as one of the top 20 finalists for the Sovereign African Arts Award for which I received the Public Choice Prize. She will be having her 10th solo exhibition at the Everard Read Gallery in Cape Town in May 2017.