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Schalk van der Merwe

Schalk van der Merwe is a multidiscipline, visual artist who lives and works in Cape Town

His visceral portraits have a directness about them yet are underpinned with a tangible fragility. Each portrait has a delicate, almost melancholic expression with a coarse and visceral application of paint. Ambiguous features can morph from immense beauty into utter despair, with hints of the eyes breaking the surface beneath layers of paint, charcoal, turpentine, expressive brush strokes and often the physical DNA from the artist’s fingertips.

His work explores the concept of taking the mind out of the creative process to allow for a more honest expressioncapturing a vast range of emotions and often provoking a strong reaction from the viewer. 

“My work is not reliant on a cognitive process. I believe over thinking can destroy originality. My portraits aren’t about realism, perfection, gender or race. They explore and attempt to capture those qualities and emotions often hidden from view.”