× art.co.za artists exhibitions training auctions blog

About The Artist

Artist Photo

Artist Biography

Isabel Mertz is a visual artist and object maker born in 1987. She currently works and lives in Cape Town, South Africa. She holds a Masters in visual arts (cum laude) from the University of Stellenbosch and a Bachelors degree of arts from the University of Pretoria. In 2011 she received the Gerard Sekoto award, and a merit prize at the annual Absa L'Atelier Art competition. She has participated in numerous group shows in South Africa and recently exhibited in England, Paris and Amsterdam. Her visual research focusses on investigating the complexities associated with the notion of home and the temporal qualities of place. By examining various human and non-human architectures, inherited objects and archival maps her work aims to poetically challenge and subvert patriarchal hierarchies.

Artist Statement

my previous body of work I explored the notion of mapping, through a series of prints and cast bronze objects that mirrored each other and created site lines through which to view our surroundings. Now, these site lines converge and collide to create multiple perspectives exploring place for its temporal qualities. I look at my own history and hybridize images and artefacts from childhood into drawings and cast objects. Time becomes an access point, architecture, nostalgia and matter rupture to create multiple perspectives of place.

Artist Photo

Artist CV


Masters in Visual Arts (MAVA) *cum laude
University of Stellenbosch
Supervisor: Ledelle Moe
Thesis title: Homing; navigating the notions of home

BA (Visual Arts) *Distinction practical work
University of Pretoria

Matriculation *with merit
Distinctions: English (HG), Art (HG)
Hoërskool Eldoraigne


Ad hoc lecturer in 3D Department
University of Stellenbosch
2015 - present

Ad hoc lecturer Jewellery Design Department of Visual Arts
University of Stellenbosch
September/ October 2016

Module: Cold mold making and casting in multiple materials

In this module students were encouraged to examine the materiality of objects in their everyday life. Students selected objects of their choice and set about to produce multiple re-usable molds and a series of casts that could be incorporated into experimental wearable jewellery pieces. This module focussed on various mold making techniques including reusable flexible silicon molds and rigid two piece plaster molds. Casting materials explored during this module: clear cast resin, pigment resins, material one, plaster, cement, wax, soap and candy.

Tasks as module facilitator included:
Presenting power point presentations with relevant visual and theoretical content for the students.
Giving material demonstrations on various techniques and demonstrating casting in different materials.
Evaluating, assessing and providing feedback on student work.

Sculpture workshop facilitator at CGIBA Spring School, Department of Visual Arts
University of Stellenbosch
September 2016

Module: 3D Relief cement relief sculpture and DIY mold making

This workshop focussed on teaching participants the basic theoretical and practical knowledge needed to produce a cement relief sculpture. The workshop also introduced participants to a variety of household materials that can be used to make cost effective molds and casting from these molds at home.

Tasks as module facilitator included:
Developing course/ workshop content
Leading / presenting workshop
Material and technique demonstrations.
Providing feedback for participants

Ad hoc lecturer in 3D sculpture studio, Department of Visual Arts
University of Stellenbosch
March - June 2016

Module: Bronze Casting (living history project)

This module focussed on students working together as a group to develop and realize a public sculpture. Students had to choose a story or historical event from within their community and visually interoperate it on a plaque or small sculpture. These objects were then cast into bronze and presented as a collective memorial sculpture in a public space. Students also worked collectively to produce a cast concrete base for the relief bronze plaques. Here they learnt how to build and prepare a mold for cement casting and to work together as a group. During this module students learnt the theoretical and practical knowledge surrounding bronze casting (ceramic shell casting) and a brief history of public sculpture.

Tasks as module facilitator included:
Co-ordinating students.
Developing module content.
Presenting and demonstrating various sculptural techniques.
Demonstrating basic foundry set up, casting and finishing of bronze sculpture.
Fabricating cement structure for collective public sculpture.
Facilitating team work and completion of project within a set deadline.
Evaluating student work and providing feedback.

3D workshop technician department of Visual Arts
University of Stellenbosch
Feb 2015 - November 2016

Roles and responsibilities:
Overseeing of workshop, general upkeep and maintenance of equipment (wood working and metal work shop)
Demonstrating the proper use of equipment to under graduate students including welding, metal and wood cutting, grinding, drilling and sanding. (wood working and metal workshop)
Demonstrating various sculptural techniques to students
Serving as health and safety officer: First Aid Level 1. (maintaining first aid kits and briefing students on safety)
Consulting with students on projects
Ordering, purchasing and collecting material for workshops.

Guest Lecturer in sculpture department
University of Pretoria
March - June 2011

Module: Bronze casting, Marquette for a monument

This module served as an introduction to the theoretical history of bronze casting and the role of monuments in sculpture. Students had to sketch, develop and produce a Marquette for a monument of their choice.

Tasks as module facilitator included:
Co-teaching students with Mr Guy Du Toit
Presenting course content to students
Demonstrating various sculptural techniques to students
Demonstrating bronze casting (ceramic shell) and finishing of bronze sculptures
Evaluating and providing feedback to students


Gerard Sekoto Award Absa L'Atelier, South Africa, 2011.
Merrit Award Absa L'Atelier, South Africa, 2011.

CF Eloff Bursary (University of Pretoria), South Africa, 2010.
Centenary Bursary (University of Pretoria), South Africa, 2010.

Open Forum Micro Residency, Stellenbosch, 2016.
Cite internationale des Arts Paris, France, 2012 - 2013.


Intersection: University of Stellenbosch, Rooiplein 2016.

This project is a collaborative sculpture steered and created by a group of second year fine art students and invited participants on campus. The final work consists of a cast concrete sculpture with bronze cast plaques attached to the surface of the concrete. Each bronze plaque tells a different story and explains a unique point of view of each student/participant.

This project was conceptualized, realized and coordinated by myself and Miss Ledelle Moe.

VANSA: 2010 reasons to live in a small town. Richmond, Northern Cape

This community project lead by Mr Guy Du Toit took place in December 2010 and January 2011 in the town of Richmond. Together with a small group of volunteers we facilitated various creative workshops for the children and youth of the town. Each day participants would gather in the MAP residency space and as a group partake in various activities which included large scale drawings and paintings, modelling clay, playing educational games and storytelling. From the first set of workshops two collective town mascots (Zena and Thor) were produced and realized as large scale public bronze sculptures and installed in the town.

Roles and responsibilities during community project:
Facilitating creative workshops
Encouraging and facilitating dialogue between participants
Demonstrating various drawing, painting and sculpting techniques
Teaching arc welding to youth participants
Setting up foundry and casting bronze sculptures
Installing finished public bronze sculptures with community members.


Exhibition name: PLAY
Date: 2014
Location: Nirox sculpture park (Cradle of human kind)
Curatorial team: Isabel Mertz, Jane Crawshay-Hall, Maaike Bakker

Roles and responsibilities:
Conceptualizing and producing theme, content and subject matter for exhibition.
Liaising with 35 artists, setting up meetings, co-ordinating and overseeing delivery and installation of artworks.
Producing content for advertising and marketing of exhibition on social media and local news platforms.

Exhibition name: The problem of crossing a bridge
(Traveling solo exhibition)
Date: 2014
Location(s): Pretoria Arts Association, Bloemfontein Johannes Stegmann Gallery, Port Elizabeth Underculture contemporary, Durban KZNSA, Cape Town Alliance Francaise Cape Town.

Roles and responsibilities:
Conceptualizing and producing theme, content and subject matter for exhibition.
Producing and manufacturing sculptural and 2D work for exhibitions.
Liaising with various galleries, setting up meetings, co-ordinating and overseeing delivery and installation of artworks in various galleries.
Producing content for advertising and marketing of exhibition on social media and local news platforms.



  • "All the voices", Fried contemporary ft No End contemporary, Pretoria.
  • "Ledelle Moe and Isabel Mertz", Semaphore Gallery, Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
  • "Phefumla" (breathe),District six museum Cape Town and Goethe Institute Johannesburg.
  • "Homing: navigating the notions of home". GUS Gallery, Stellenbosch. (MA Graduation show)


  • "Landmark", GUS Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
  • "STRATA", IS ART, Franschhoek, South Africa.
  • "New Monuments", Commune 1, Cape Town, South Africa.


  • "Terra", Oliewenhuis Art Museum, Bloemfontein, South Africa.
  • "Absa L'Atelier celebrating 30 years of winners", Absa KKNK, Oudtshoorn, South Africa.
  • "Place", GUS Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa.


  • "PLAY", Nirox Foundation - Sculpture Park, Krugersdorp, South Africa.
  • "SA ART NOW", NMAG, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  • "The Problem of Crossing a bridge", Traveling solo, nationwide tour.
  • "I take it all back", Nirox Projects, Maboneng Precinct, Johannesburg.
  • "Blood, Sweat and Tears", ABSA, Johannesburg.
  • "Post Colonial", Absa KKNK, ABSA Oudtshoorn, South Africa.
  • "Point of departure", Lizamore & Assoc. Gallery, Johannesburg.
  • "No Man's Art Pop up Gallery", No Man's Art Gallery, Cape Town.
  • "Dialogues", Association of Arts, Pretoria, South Africa.


  • "Neo Baroque", Fried Contemporary, Pretoria, South Africa.
  • "168 Hours", Aardklop Arts Festival, Potchefstroom, South Africa.
  • "Sasol New Signatures Art Competition" (Finalist), Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, South Africa.
  • "Turbine Art Fair", (Fried Contemporary) Turbine Hall, Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • "Absa L'Atelier Competition" (Finalist), Absa Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • "Dialogues", Orangerie Exhibition Çenter of the French Senate, Paris, France.
  • "Trans-Africa" (Touring show), Absa Art Gallery, Eduardo Villa Museum, Johannesburg, Kimberley, Pretoria, South Africa.


  • "Carte", Cite internationale des Arts, Paris, France.
  • "Studio Collective", Cite internationale des Arts, Paris, France.
  • "World Event Young Artists (WEYA)", Bonington Gallery Trent University, Nottingham, England.
  • "Make-shift", University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa.


  • "Johannesburg 360", Art Space, Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • "Absa L' Atelier Competition" (Gerard Sekoto winner & Merit winner), Absa Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • "Sasol New Signature's Art Competition" (Finalist), Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria, South Africa.

Follow this artist