Blogger: Jessie Cohen
We are currently exhibiting different series’ of new works by Jacob van Schalkwyk simultaneously at our Cape Town gallery as well as at the DK Bookstore in Johannesburg.
Checkerboard Room at the Johannesburg Bookstore:
Jacob van Schalkwyk’s use of walnut oil has opened up a new technical avenue in his recent work. The works presented at the DK Bookstore are meditations on the use of lithographic ink as medium for painting.
In pondering the pertinent question: “How does Titian paint so well?” van Schalkwyk has done extensive research into the methods of the great painters of the Renaissance period. A 1953 conservation report on the Ghent altarpiece – L’Agneau mystique au laboratoire: examen et traitement by Paul Coremans – revealed the use of walnut oil as an important ingredient in the visible layers of the work. As it happens, walnut oil was used extensively by Titian, Van Eyck and Rembrandt, among others, not only to increase the lustre of the paint, but also to shorten drying time.
This information prompted van Schalkwyk to begin mixing walnut oil into lithographic ink, thereby turning it into luscious and quick-drying paint, which he has used to create heavily layered paintings on aluminium and paper. The works have developed over a number of years, building up alongside other projects, and absorbing energy from each as time has passed.
Outside his window, construction work that is currently taking place around his studio has provided cues for certain marks and colours in the final, uppermost layers – responses to the process and its paraphernalia, and the sense that what initially appears chaotic is, in fact, perfectly ordered.
This exhibition, which is untitled, comes down at the end of October.
Van Schalkwyk at DKCT
Sunsets opened on 17 September at David Krut Projects Cape Town at the Montebello Design Centre, Newlands, pulling a lively crowd of artists, designers, writers and filmmakers.
The presentation is economical in scale – it is a series of six drawings in lithographic ink on paper, which are extravagant in terms of colour and texture, prompting a re-imagining of the term “drawing”. The works are made up of layers of lithographic ink that has been thickly applied and then left to dry flat, which results in the surface of the ink forming into complex ripple and crease patterns as the viscose liquid contracts. The works are immersive meditations on the meaning of drawing, signifying a scrutiny of the thought processes to which Van Schalkwyk subjects his practice as a painter.
Sunsets runs until 22 October.
Van Schalkwyk has recently collaborated with David Krut Workshop on a series of prints. To read about this exciting new body of work please click here.