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July-August 2016

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Jeannette Unite (b. 1964): South African Artist Extraordinaire

Many mineral collectors have seen and visited mining operations and their vast dumps, some with areas for collecting minerals but many that are immense, gloomy dunes of finely ground waste, which are off-limits to access. Those huge areas of crushed materials are where this artist collects the pigments for her art. Jeannette Unite (pronounced U-nite) is a visual artist who, for the past fifteen years, has traveled extensively through more than twenty-five countries to obtain a huge archive of materials and images from mining industry as well as natural rock and mineral sites. Consulting with geologists, geological engineers, metallurgists, and industrialists has educated her about the mining industry and detritus from industrial sites, where she gleans the oxides, metal salts, and residues from mining processes. Her palette expands beyond the medium of paint to pastels, glass, and charcoal. Gaining information from earth scientists, paint chemists, and also a ceramist, Unite has created art from mined material, melding both the subject matter and the art mediums that portray it in her large-scale artworks.

Susan Robinson is a freelance artist specializing in painting mineral and gem specimens as well as birds and wildlife.

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