Schalk Van der Merwe, ‘Lilith’, 2016, Artist's Proof

This original 49 x 39 inch one of kind painting is created with paint, turpentine, and charcoal on canvas. The piece is signed on the front by the artist. A certificate of authenticity is included.

About the Artist
Schalk van der Merwe (South African) visceral portraits have a directness about them, yet are underpinned with a tangible fragility. Ambiguous features can morph from immense beauty into utter despair, with hints of the eyes breaking the surface beneath layers of paint, turpentine, charcoal, expressive brush strokes and often the physical DNA from the artist’s fingertips. Schalk van der Merwe’s work explores the concept of taking the mind out of the creative process to allow for a more honest expression. Capturing a vast range of emotions, which often provokes a strong reaction from the viewer. Schalk van der Merwe explains that his work is not reliant on a cognitive process and that by over thinking can destroy its originality. His portraits aren't about realism, perfect, gender or race. He aims to capture those qualities and emotions often hidden from view.

These faces reveal themselves to the artist in blurred flashes, where identity, likeness, and gender are neither clear nor important. These fleeting ghosts always illicit raw feelings and it’s these visceral emotions he tries to capture. Schalk van der Merwe’s latest series, ‘Not So Funny Now’, can be read as a reaction to the new global socio-political realities. In this series, this South African artist continues his distinctive painting style but his latest portraits manifest a more visceral and harsh presentation. The series is more provocative with a directness about them, though still underpinned with a tangible fragility that defines his work. Each portrait has a delicate, almost melancholic expression with a coarse and visceral application of paint. Each face offers some deeply personal recognition of the subject it addresses even though the features sometimes are blurred to the point of anonymity. Schalk’s work is filled with emotion in its purest, rawest form.

“We can all see ourselves, or at least parts of ourselves in portraits and this coupled with the fearless expression in my work, often triggers emotions that many people don't want to acknowledge, face or sometimes even knew existed within them. It is my responsibility as an artist to explore this part of the psyche that is rarely acknowledged. Sometimes these emotions can be gentle and beautiful, whereas theory times they can be brutal, raw and filled with utter despair. My work tried to reflect and make sense of it all.” - Schalk van der Merwe

Series: Visceral

Signature: Yes

About Schalk Van der Merwe

South African, Cape Town, South Africa, based in Cape Town, South Africa

Solo Shows

Washington, D.C.,