Motivated by the desire to explore aspects of my own sensitivity, this work emerged from a time when I felt accused of being too ‘delicate’. Our current culture applauds independence and strength above vulnerability and sensitivity. To be emotionally sensitive and vulnerable is often associated with weakness. It was this assumption that I wanted to subvert. 


Within the material qualities of this work, lie the subverting message – that sensitivity and vulnerability could, in fact, signify strength. For in the work, a rigid material is re-formed into an object reminiscent of a soft and malleable piece of clothing. I attempt to explore emotion and sensitivity, in order to process and justify my own sensitivity as a desirable state or attribute.                                                   

In essence, the work serves as an ode to notions of womanhood, sensitivity, vulnerability, removal, coverage, confusion, exposure, abuse, protection, comfort, and recognition. 

Inverse, Cape Fig Wood, 2019. 94 cm x 20 cm x 19 cm. 

Arid Soil, Monotype on Fabriano Rosapina, 2020. 96 cm x 48 cm. 

Arid Soil

Printmaking has become an extension of my carving process. I started off by creating monoprints with the remnants of my carvings, and have extended this into printing with oils.


Printmaking has a unique way of expressing touch and holding marks, that otherwise would have been lost.


Monoprints put the very impermanent, movement or substance into permanence through only adding pressure. 

In the printing process I focus on highlighting tactile sensitivity. I randomly place carving dust or oilpaint on wet paper, close my eyes and move my hands or over the substances in whatever manner I feel like in that moment. With some prints a slowness is visible, and with others harsh and quick movements.


Mater, Sycamore Wood and Copper, 2019.125 cm x 34 cm x 30 cm.


The Latin term, mater, which means ‘mother’, is the term from which the words ‘matter’ and ‘material’ originated. It is the term used most frequently to refer to wood. 

Wood could therefore be associated with the word, maternal. It is this connotation that serves as the essence of this sculpture: “wood as maternal”, “maternal as wood”. The abstracted conical shape reminds of  mushrooms, coral and certain parts of the female anatomy.


It seems to announce; subtly inviting and intriguing. 

These prints engage with the abject object. They reference strands of found hair against a shower wall. 


It challenges the notion of certain images or scenes as seemingly unattractive. Yet, it digs deeper into the possible beauty within our own undesirable attributes, and human “weaknesses”. 

Made a Mistake, Monotype on Fabriano Rosapina, 2020.15cmx15cm.

Because a Man Must Choose, Monotype on Fabriano Rosapina, 2020. 45 cm x 30 cm. 

                     © 2020 Lizelle Kirsten 

    lizelle kirsten