Bill Ainslie - Abstract Expressionism - South Africa

William “Bill” Ainslie was a South African artist, teacher, activist, as well as and the founder of several art projects. Ainslie was born on 10 April 1934 in Bedford, Eastern Cape, where his family farmed a parcel of land called Spring Grove”. His family moved to the Karoo when he was a young boy but subsequently left for Johannesburg because of a drought. His father died when he was eight years old.
Ainslie had intended to become a priest, until art claimed his imagination when he was a student. He studied at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg from 1952-1955. In 1958, he completed his honours degree in Fine Art. On completion of his studies he taught at Michael house, a school in KwaZulu Natal. He also taught art at Cyrene Mission in Zimbabwe and King Edward VII School in Johannesburg, his alma mater In 1960, Bill married Sophia Jansen-Schottell (known as Fieka). He died in a car accident in August 1989 returning from an international workshop at the Cyrene Mission in Zimbabwe.Ainslie’s paintings transitioned from monumental African figures featuring mothers and children, and farm labourers to abstract expressionism. He was renowned for his use of striking and vibrant colours His painting found connections with American abstract expressionism and as a result, Ainslie tended to teach abstraction.











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