Johann Wessels was born in the small town of Bloemfontein in the center of South Africa. After completing high school and compulsory military service, he studied a 4 year BA Fine Arts Degree with majoring in History of Art, Drawing and Printmaking. He was awarded the prize for best art school student in his final year. He taught History of Art, Printmaking and Drawing at a number of universities in South Africa before leaving for Canada in 1999 where he settled in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan for 10 years. In this time he worked in the film and TV industry and was the recipient of a Saskatchewan Arts Board Grant in 2010. He moved to Penticton, BC in 2011.
“Wessels work reads like a surprisingly beautiful puzzle. Aged trompe-l’oeil surfaces channel circus sideshow or travelling snake-oil salesman or perhaps some wild combination of the two. Photography is continually referenced even though there are no actual photographic images…it is all painted. Clues to personal history abound, but are left open ended and intriguing. The skill of this artist is never in question, although the enigmatic and mysterious quality of the subject matter leaves the viewer wanting to know more.”Heather Smith, Curator at Moose Jaw Art Gallery