Barnard is pleased to present a collaboration between lens-based artist, Lien Botha, and painter Jaco van Schalkwyk. Both artists have a longstanding working relationship with Barnard and in the past their works have often been juxtaposed in the gallery’s curated group shows or at art fairs.
"The idea for the exhibition was first brought to my attention in February 2023, by Barnard Art Director Alastair Whitton, who has worked with Jaco and I for over a decade,” says Botha. For van Schalkwyk the collaboration was a natural progression, noting that “there is a certain magical conversation that usually happens between our work.”
The exhibition is inspired by the artists mutual interest in and dedication to conservation and the natural environment. “Another thing I believe binds us together is our love for storytelling through visual imagery, Lien, through her photography and writing and for me the juxta-positioning of different paintings in series, groupings and installations. My process also starts with photography, since I am a realist painter and take photos of my immediate environment as reference and also wherever I go. I print many of these photos to juxtapose in the studio, sometimes in strange ways to create new landscapes all together. Sharing these photos and groupings of images with Lien, was also the way we brought this exhibition to life.
(Jaco van Schalkwyk)
Commenting on the exhibition title ‘After Nature’ Van Schalkwyk states “The exhibition title is layered; it could mean almost an apocalyptic ‘after’ we (humans) have destroyed nature on this planet and also ‘to paint after Nature’ (i.e realism and the imitating of nature)”. He notes further that “the monochrome colour palette is however not altogether true to nature – some blue, some sepia and some black and white. This almost creates an otherworldly feeling or the sense of a ‘new world’.”
Lien Botha is a lens-based artist who uses the medium of photography and post production digital media to create layered narratives. Born in Gauteng, South Africa in 1961, she initially studied languages at the University of Pretoria and worked as a press photographer for Beeld before moving to Cape Town in 1984 where she obtained a BA Fine Arts degree from the Michaelis School of Fine Art in 1988. A recipient of the 1997, Standard Bank Young Artist Award, Lien is also an award winning author (her first novel, ‘Wonderboom’, published by Queillerie in June 2015, received critical acclaim including the Jan Rabie Rapport and Eugène Marais prizes). This relationship with words is also evidenced by the subtle social commentary in her visually poetic works. The common thread is her ability to chart geography and soul on the same map. Her ‘visual poetry’ is characterised by a certain melancholic longing and a sense of dislocation that evokes sensibilities and emotions that accompany the broader historical reference that the subject of land and belonging often conjure. Botha’s work is represented in pivotal museum collections in South Africa as well as in key private collections locally and abroad.
Painter and installation artist Jaco van Schalkwyk uses the medium of photography to document his interest in the natural world. He obtained a BA in Historical Studies from the University of South African in 2011 and undertook a ten-year painting apprenticeship at the studio of fellow South African artist Mari Breedt. The artist has a longstanding interest in landscape and geography often with topical commentary on sustainability and preservation. Reminiscent of 19th century Romantic painting in their depiction of sublime landscapes, the meticulously realized paintings of Jaco van Schalkwyk nevertheless retain their own identity and contemporary relevance. The artist considers the troubled relationship between man and the natural world he inhabits, bearing witness to the disastrous effects human activity has had on the natural environment. The artist’s work has been selected for inclusion on curated shows at notable museums and institutions in South Africa, USA, China, France and Switzerland and his paintings can be found in the collections of the South African Reserve Bank, University of Pretoria, Absa Bank, Ellerman House, Pretoria Art Museum, University of Johannesburg and Rand Merchant Bank Corporate Collection.