Yvette McGee developed her interest in ceramics while studying African languages at the University of the Witwatersrand. Following her graduation in 1983, she continued her studies at the Leggats Academy of Design, completing her course in 1987. She began experimenting within a study pottery environment and opened her own studio in 1990. While the formal tactile discipline of the ceramist lies at the core of Yvette McGee’s work, her interest in the decorative possibilities offered by the ceramic medium has consistently intrigued her. This finds expression in her work through the influence of traditional African design and acknowledgement of the African busy, both of which she holds a passion for.
Her modernist sensibility and interest in the all encompassing aspect of Deco design provides an interesting stylistic juxtaposition. The ceramic form serves as the support for her highly individual and distinctive style, which combines motifs into decorative designs using an earth tone palette. These find inspiration from sources as diverse as African sculpture and fabric, to organic and animal forms from the African landscape. Utilitarian platters, vessels and bowls are transformed into aesthetic objects to contemplate, their shapes having been modulated and enhanced by the painted surface. Line, tonality, texture and graffito are used in developing a dense and variegated place of colour and form.
The diversity of design produced by Yvette McGree has long caught the attention of collectors and interior designers, both locally and internationally. A commission to produce pieces for the presidential suites at the Lost City has been followed by other prestigious public and private commissions. These include the new Blue Train, Ulusaba Game Lodge, which was refurbished and reopened by Virgin boss, Richard Branson, the new Saxon Hotel and the rebuilt and converted house in which Nelson Mandela lived on his release form prison, which won an international design award for its interior.
The individuality of Yvette McGee’s hand painted work has elicited wide acclaim, which has resulted in her being invited by the Standard Bank Gallery to exhibit her work. This is the first time in the ten years since establishing her studio that she exhibited in a public gallery space, having, until now, chosen to show her work in her studio and informal settings. In acknowledging the inspirational sources which inform her designs and which form part of the studio environment, some of these pieces were included as an integral part of the exhibition.
Standard Bank Gallery 2000 , Knysna Fine Art 2000 , Quatermain Hotel 2001 , Knysna Fine Art 2001 , Quatermain Hotel 2003 , Kaross 2004 , Artspace Fine Art gallery 2005.