Kim Mobey (born 1980) is a Cape Town based artist. She is self-taught, evincing natural artistic abilities since a young age, she sold her first sculpture at the age of 15. Since the late nineties she has been working as an artist, having regularly exhibited her work from 2010, in Knysna, where she was based until 2013, to galleries in Cape Town. In 2017, when she was selected as a finalist for the PPC Imaginarium awards, her sculptural work gained wider recognition, being shown at the Turbine Art Fair and the Investec Cape Town Art Fair. In 2019 one of Mobey’s portraits made the Top 40 shortlist for the Sanlam Portrait Award.
Her primary mode is portraiture, which she prefers to render in traditional mediums – oils and acrylics. Her portraits are faithful to reality, while communicating the unspoken connection between Mobey and her subjects – most often people she knows or has met. She seeks out an immersive and empathetic link to them, which she feels is necessary to evolving an authentic practice.
“When I paint a portrait I come close to knowing how gravity feels in someone else’s skin. And I can look at myself for a moment through their eyes,” she says.
Though her portraits are rooted in reality, they are subject to artistic license, fulfilling Mobey’s interest in upturning stereotypical notions regarding aesthetics, gender, race, age and class. So while her portraits may appear to conform to expectations attached to the genre, they are the product of her desire to challenge fixed identities and how these might bear down on South African society.
Beyond her humanist approach, she is interested in mythology and science. A driven autodidact and educator, she actively studies and teaches new and traditional technical skills, art history, languages, sculpture, installation, performance, painting and printmaking. Her keen interest in humanity extends to ongoing charitable work she undertakes in Cape Town.
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