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. His most recent solo show, Eden, presented by Barnard Gallery in September 2015, examined the disastrous effects human activity has had on the natural environment. In his vast, absorbing canvases, van Schalkwyk presents desolate, uninhabited spaces that are simultaneously unsettling and poignantly beautiful. His interest in the human interaction with the natural environment has since been extended to his recent stay in Bali, where ancient traditions and connections to the natural world are contrasted with pollution and neglect. Drawing upon this new stock of imagery, van Schalkwyk will continue his meditations upon the themes of Eden, applying them to new settings and narratives for a selection of new paintings for the FNB Joburg Art Fair.
Van Schalkwyk was a Finalist in the 2011 Absa L’Atelier Award and in 2013 won a Merit Award in this prestigious national competition. Residency awards include the New York Art Students League (2008) and Kunst: Raum, Sylt Quelle, Germany (2014). In addition to the artist’s three solo shows at Barnard Gallery selected recent group exhibitions include Post-Colonial Africa, KKNK, Oudtshoorn (2014); Paint Matters, Barnard Gallery, Cape Town (2014); 20: Contemporary Art from South Africa, Turchin Centre, Appalachian State University, North Carolina, USA (2014), Surface: Emerging Painters, Barnard Gallery, Cape Town (2015); Twenty: Art in the Time of Democracy, Pretoria Art Museum & University of Johannesburg (2015); 6th Beijing Biennale, China (2015) and Future / Present, Barnard Gallery, Cape Town (2016).Van Schalkwyk’s work is represented in the collections of the South African Reserve Bank, Absa Bank and Ellerman House and RMB Corporate Collection.