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Cure :: Jaco van Schalkwyk

In nemeto-, van Schalkwyk extends the exploration of the troubled and paradoxical relationship between man and nature begun in his 2015 solo show Eden - witnessing and calling attention to the inherent dichotomies on which our understanding of the natural world are predicated. Dichotomies of reverence and destruction, indulgence and neglect, connection and alienation. 

In the light of the Covid-19 Pandemic, Van Schalkwyk references the “Sacred Grove”, drawing on forest mythology and the healing powers that such places possess according to Celtic and Germanic Folklore. In striking monochrome on a 152 x 176 cm large canvas, the artist contrasts - the beautiful and the horrific, the hopeful and the desolate. 

In the light of the Covid-19 Pandemic, Van Schalkwyk references the “Sacred Grove”, drawing on forest mythology and the healing powers that such places possess according to Celtic and Germanic Folklore. In striking monochrome the artist contrasts - the beautiful and the horrific, the hopeful and the desolate. 

Even though our impulse to romanticise the Landscape is constantly undercut with a distinct unease about the long lasting effects of the negligence and selfishness of the human race, there might be a possibility of regeneration. Perhaps we are now witnessing a demise, but something new might come in its place.

Since the conception of his 2015 solo exhibition Eden at the Barnard Gallery in Cape Town , Van Schalkwyk has been concerned with the idea of the exotic and the symbolism of forests and islands. Exploring beyond the surface of these places, the artist challenges our idea of ‘Utopia’ or ‘Paradise’ and questions the western notion that paradise is found in the beauty of exotic landscapes and / or ‘the other’. 

Reminiscent of Romantic landscape painting, Van Schalkwyk’s works use metaphor and symbolism to ascribe moral significance to the growth and decomposition of natural objects. His contemporary vistas speak of man’s abuse of the natural world and the threat of climate change. Where romanticism celebrated the idea of nature as both refuge and dream, Van Schalkwyk reveals that this very nature is being neglected and abused.

About Jaco van Schalkwyk

Jaco van Schalkwyk was born in 1981 in Benoni, South Africa,  where he grew up in the headquarters of the Latter Rain Mission International. He holds a BA degree in Historical studies at UNISA and currently resides in Randburg.

Van Schalkwyk has participated in numerous exhibitions in South Africa and abroad and is represented in several collections: The Reserve Bank of South Africa, Barclays bank, RMB, the University of Pretoria, the University of Johannesburg, the Pretoria Art Museum and the Ellerman Collection. 

The Barnard Gallery has held four successful solo exhibitions for the artist in recent years; Just a matter of Time in 2012 , I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things in 2013, Eden in 2015 and -arium in 2017.