SHANY VAN DEN BERG
(b. 1958 Riversdale, South Africa)
Specialising in contemporary portraiture and figurative work with a strong central theme on womanhood, van den Berg works in oil paint on board and linen, mixed media on paper and perspex as well as sculpture.
After a studying for a diploma in nursing for 3 years, she did a part time ceramic course under Ralph Johnson at Paarl College in the 1980s, after which she worked as a ceramist for 10 years. Van den Berg then studied life drawing and painting part-time at the Ruth Prowse School of Art in Cape Town in 1990.
Since then, van den Berg has been working as a full time artist.
She was a finalist in 2005 in Sasol New Signatures.
Out of more than 2000 applicants, van den Berg was chosen as one of 50 finalist artists for the 2009 and 2010 BP Portrait Awards show at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Her 2010 oil on board painting, Bloedlyn - Sannie en Leah , shows two woman at very different stages of their lives.
Shany has had 11 solo exhibitions from 1999 to 2012, the most recent at the Everard Read Gallery in Johannesburg. She also participates in many group exhibitions, both locally and internationally.
Among several projects , she was part of 10 , a collaborative workshop in 2004 with 9 other artists in the Castle of Good Hope, exploring the first 10 years of democracy, as well as an Art Exchange with the Hubei Institute of Art China in 2008, both through Everard Read, Cape Town. In March 2013, she was awarded a Fellowship from the Ampersand Foundation , to spend a month in their artist residence in New York. Van den Berg was one of ten women artists selected for the project Femininity curated by Eva Roer in Germany in October 2013. At the same time, van den Berg was part of the 100 Year Commemorative exhibition Universal Suffering at the War Museum of the Boer Republic in Bloemfontein. In December 2013, she was part of the Centenary exhibition of Everard Read Gallery in Cape Town. In January 2014, she took part in Cape Town s Suidoosterfees exhibition, Cape Town Re-imagined , which formed part of the Design Capital 2014 project. In March 2014, she is part of Magicus , a group exhibition at the D-Street Gallery in Stellenbosch which forms part of the annual Woordfees .
In 2015, Van den Berg held her following solo presentation at the Everard Read Gallery space at La Grande Provence in Franschoek.
Van den Berg s ethereal, sensitive oil paintings and artwork capture a mood reminiscent of contemporary mannerism and romanticism with a strong focus on womanhood. She succeeds in communicating the multi-layered emotions, ideas and modern concepts with a classical approach to portraiture and captures these ideas with a meticulous attention to detail, simplicity and subtle symbolism.
Shany van den Berg s body of works includes monumental oil paintings inspired by the Old Masters and many other art forms, such as music and poems. They are often portraits, primarily of women, whose features morph into a composite of the artist and her loved ones, serving as portals to an internal narrative of sacrifice, struggle and ultimately transcendence.
The references are delicate and ambiguous: a nude atop a gallery plinth is transposed from stone into flesh and blood, or vice versa; a sheet draped shroud-like across an ethereal form emerging from or entering an abyss; hands depicted in gestures of supplication, prayer, self-protection or release; a red scarf or fragile scarlet thread seeming almost to flutter across and beyond the canvas. In fact, the colour red serves as a recurring literal and symbolic refrain throughout this body of works. Alongside black and white, red is an archetypal hue, suggesting rites of passage, states of mind and in-between spaces.
A sense of layering pervades her works, both in terms of the imagery itself and van den Berg s painterly process. Despite their air-brushed appearance, the surfaces are built up of swathes, painted not onto the board but rather, absorbed into it. Shadows are imbued with texture and skins exude an almost viscous sheen. Although unmistakeably feminine, some of her forms evoke a sense of animalism through their attenuated bone structure, and an underlying sexuality pervades many of the forms. They suggest recognition, confirmation and the bitter-sweet knowledge of love, loss and letting go.
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
New works, solo, Everard Read gallery at La Grande Provence , Francshoek, Western Cape, South Africa
Hinterland , solo, Everard Read, Johannesburg, South Africa
Siel van my Vel , solo, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa
Solo, IS Art at Le Quatier Francais, Franschhoek, South Africa
in gesprek met , solo, Smellick &Stokking, Den Haag, Netherlands
..(h)erken...ken...en... , solo, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa
gedagtes wat reis , solo, My Own Choice Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands
dwaaltuin , solo, Grande Provence Gallery, Franschhoek, South Africa
construction site , solo, Limeline Design, Cape Town, , South Africa
vlug in tyd , solo, Dorp Street Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa
my shadow, my echo, me , solo, Bang the Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
Opening Group Exhibition, CIRCA Gallery, London, UK
Winter Collection, Group Show, Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
Homage, Group Exhibition, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa
Winter, Group Exhibition, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa
Summer Season , group exhibition, D-Street Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Summer of Sculpture III , group exhibition, Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa
Magicus , group exhibition, D-Street Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Cape Town Re-Imagined , group exhibition, Suidoosterfees, Cape Town, South Africa
100 , group exhibition, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa
Universal Suffering , group exhibition, War Museum, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Femininity , group exhibition curated by Eva Roer, Germany
SAADA Antique Fair, Pier Rabe Antiques, Franschhoek, South Africa
Hiernamaals/Hereafter , group show, Slee Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Binnehemels , group show, Red, Black & White, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Small Works , group show, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa
A Summer of Sculpture , group show, Mount Nelson, Cape Town, South Africa
halfmens / heelmens , duo with Roche van den Berg, Red, Black & White Gallery, Pier Rabe
Sex, Power, Money , group show, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa
Confluence , duo with Wang Qingli, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa
Small works, group show, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa
Shany van den Berg / Strijdom van der Merwe, Grande Provence Gallery, Franschhoek Cape Town, South Africa
Three , trio, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa
Shany van den Berg/Alex Hamilton, Bang the Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
A Celebration of Art & Technology , group show in aid of the Nelson Mandela Children s Fund, sponsored by Hewlett Packard
COMPETITIONS & PROJECTS
Fellowship granted by the Ampersand Foundation, New York
Bright Ideas Ceramic art / Light from Africa Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa
& 2009 BP Award Portrait Gallery London / finalist
Art exchange / Hubei Institute of Art, China
Artfair Utrecht / My Own Choice
AAF Amsterdam / My Own Choice
Sasol New Signatures / finalist
Corobrick Ceramic Competition Cape Town / finalist
Works included in private collections in South Africa, London, France, Germany, Luxenburg, Caymen Islands and U.S.A