NIC BLADEN

BIOGRAPHY

NIC BLADEN
(b. 1974, Pretoria, South Africa)

South African artist Nic Bladen is known for his extraordinary botanical sculptures, which demonstrate the technique he pioneered of casting entire plants in bronze and sterling silver. Born in 1974 in Pretoria, Bladen trained in the field of dental technology, a discipline that requires precision and attention to detail.

After working for eight years in dental laboratories in South Africa and the UK, Bladen developed an interest in sculpture and began working at the Bronze Age Foundry, learning large-scale bronze casting as well as all aspects of metalwork. Knowledge of the two seemingly different fields of dental technology and bronze casting precipitated Bladen's experimentations in 2001: casting flowers and leaves. In marrying the micro and macro disciplines, he pioneered a way of developing perfect castings of organic matter.

His way of preserving/fossilizing plants and flowers uses the lost wax casting and involves creating moulds from organic material, and transforming these into unique sculptures of entire plants.

Bladen’s first solo exhibition, 'Peninsula', held at Everard Read Gallery Cape Town in 2013, focused on the richness of botanical diversity that surrounds the artist's studio, which is situated within the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest yet richest of the world's six floral kingdoms. For this show, concessions from landowners on the peninsula enabled Bladen to harvest such rarities as a Blue disa and the endemic Serruria villasa, amongst others.
In 2015, Nic worked as Artist in Residence at Tswalu Kalahari, a private game reserve in South Africa's Northern Cape Province. The sculptures that he created during this time, a depiction of iconic, beautiful and strange Kalahari Desert plants and trees, formed his second solo exhibition: 'Kalahari: a season at Tswalu', held at Everard Read Johannesburg in October 2015. Everard Read London presented a solo exhibition of Bladen’s bronzes in 2018.
Bladen’s work is held in in the Standard Bank, Ellerman House and Oppenheimer collections, as well as in many other private collections, both locally and abroad.

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS
 

2019
Masterpiece Art Fair, Everard Read Gallery, London, UK
Southern Aspect - A Group Exhibition, Everard Read Gallery, London, UK

2018
Botanical Studies in Bronze and Silver, Everard Read Gallery, London, UK
Winter, Everard Read Gallery, London, UK

2017
“…even at this unfavourable (dry) season…”, CIRCA Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
Summer Exhibition, Everard Read Gallery, London, UK
Bronze Steel and Stone II, Everard Read Gallery, London, UK

2016
Bronze Steel and Stone, group sculpture exhibition, Everard Read, London
New Works, Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
Opening exhibition, Everard Read, London, UK

2015
Kalahari: A Season at Tswalu, Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

2014
Exact Imagination: 300 years of botanically inspired art in South Africa, curated by Cyril Coetzee, The Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
Design Miami / Basel 2014, Southern Guild Collection, Basel, Switzerland
Guild Africa’s First International Design Fair, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa
Design Indaba (jewellery), CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa

2013
PENINSULA, Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

2012
AMARIDIAN Gallery, New York, USA
SOFA (International Exposition of Sculpture Objects and Functional Art), New York, YSA
Design Indaba (Jewellery), CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa

2011
Joburg Art Fair, Southern Guild Collection, Johannesburg, South Africa
Rare joint exhibition with Lisa Strachan, Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
Sculpture and Ceramics group show, Kalk Bay Modern Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
Natural Selection joint show with Jane Eppel, Rust en Vrede Gallery, Durbanville, South Africa

2010
Design Indaba (jewellery), CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa
In Bloom, Casa Labia Gallery, Muizenberg, South Africa
SOFA (International Exposition of Sculpture Objects and Functional Art), Chicago, USA
SOFA, New York
Heems, Kruisrivier Farm, Calitzdorp, South Africa
Tretchikoff and Me, group show curated by Andrew Lampbrecht at Salon 91 Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

2009
Realisme, Art Fair, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Cast in Africa, Focus Contemporary, Cape Town (with Ian Cattanach and Strijdom van der Merwe), South Africa
Angels IV, annual summer group exhibition at Grande Provence Gallery, Franschhoek, South Africa

2008
Design Indaba (jewellery), CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa
Grande Provence Gallery, Franschhoek, South Africa
Group Exhibition, KZNSA Gallery, Durban, South Africa
Movement to Light, Amaridian Gallery, New York, USA

2007
Design Indaba (jewellery), CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Orchid Society's 50th Anniversary Show, CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa
Greenhouse, Bell-Roberts Gallery, Lourensford

2006
Group exhibition, Chelsea Gallery, Wynberg, UK