SHANY VAN DEN BERG

BIOGRAPHY

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 studying for a diploma in nursing for three years, Van Den Berg did a part-time ceramic course under Ralph Johnson at Paarl College in the 1980s, after which she worked as a ceramist for ten 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. In 2005 she was a finalist in 2005 in Sasol New Signatures and in 2009 and 2010 she was chosen as one of 50 finalist artists, out of more than 2000 applicants, for BP Portrait Awards show at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Shany has had a number of solo exhibitions from 1999 to 2019, the most recent at the Everard Read Gallery in London. She also participates in many groups shows, both locally and internationally.

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 Bergs 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 unmistakably 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

2019 

Dreampond, Everard Read Gallery, London, UK

2018 

Fluisteringe vanaf n Leliepoel/ Whispers from a Lily Pond, Everard Read, Franschhoek, South Africa

2017    

(in)filtrationoftime, CIRCA gallery, Cape Town, South Africa 

2015

New works, Gallery at La Grande Provence, Franschhoek, South Africa

2012    

Hinterland, Everard Read, Johannesburg, South Africa

2011    

Siel van my Vel, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa

2010 

Solo, IS Art at Le Quatier Francais, Franschhoek, South Africa

2008    

in gesprek met, Smellick & Stokking, Den Haag, Netherlands

2007 

 ..(h)erken...ken...en... , Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa

gedagtes wat reis, My Own Choice Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands

2006

dwaaltuin, Grande Provence Gallery, Franschhoek, South Africa

2003    

construction site, Limeline Design, Cape Town, South Africa

2001

vlug in tyd, Dorp Street Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa

1999 

my shadow, my echo, me, Bang the Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

 

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2019    

Selected Artists curated by Trent Read, Knysna Fine Art Gallery, Knysna, South Africa

The Ampersand Foundation / 21 Year Celebration Exhibition/ A Vision of Jack Ginsberg, UJ Art Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

Southern Aspect, Everard Read, London, UK

Winter, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa

2018    

Winter, CIRCA, Cape Town, South Africa

2017 

Investec Cape Town Art Fair, Everard Read Booth, CTICC, Cape Town, South Africa

Winter, CIRCA, Cape Town, South Africa

People and Portraiture, CIRCA, Cape Town, South Africa

Summer, Everard Read, London, UK

Winter, Everard Read, London, UK

2016 

Opening Group Exhibition, CIRCA Gallery, London, UK

Winter Collection, Group Show, Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa 

2015 

Fear & Loss – Industrial Karoo Group installation, Pretoria Art Museum, South Africa

100 Years Die Burger Artscape Group Exhibition Cape Town, South Africa

Summer Sculpture Garden Group Exhibition Mount Nelson Hotel Gardens, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa

Homage, Group Exhibition, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa

Winter, Group Exhibition, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa

2014 

Summer Season, group exhibition, D-Street Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Fear & Loss - Industrial Karoo Group Exhibition, Oliewenhuis Art Museum, Bloemfontein, SA

Summer of Sculpture III, group exhibition, Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa

Magicus, group exhibition, D-Street Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa

2013 

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

2012    

Small Works, group show, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa

A Summer of Sculpture, group show, Mount Nelson, Cape Town, South Africa

2010 

Collaboration with Mogalakwena Art and Craft in Limpopo for Waterkloof Biodynamic Wine estate

2009 

The Great South African Nude, Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

Sex, Power, Money, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa

2008 

Confluence / a two-woman exhibition between China and South Africa, Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

Art Fair Utrecht, Netherlands

2006    

Small works, group show, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa

Shany van den Berg / Strijdom van der Merwe, Grande Provence Gallery, Franschhoek, South Africa

2005    

Three, trio, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa

2000-2002 

Shany van den Berg/Alex Hamilton, Bang the Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

2000 

A Celebration of Art & Technology, group show in aid of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, sponsored by Hewlett Packard

 

COMPETITIONS & PROJECTS

2019 

Sanlam Portrait Top 40 Finalist ‘Leah se Water’ Rust-en-Vrede Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

2016 

BP Portrait Finalist, ’SELF’ Portrait Gallery, London

BP Travel Award Shortlisted Finalist, Portrait Gallery, London

2013 

Fellowship granted by the Ampersand Foundation, New York

2011

Bright Ideas Ceramic art / Light from Africa Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa

2010 

BP Award Portrait Finalist, ‘Bloedlyn/Bloodline Sannie en Leah’ ,  Portrait Gallery, London

2009    

BP Award Portrait Finalist, ’Dit is ek Gladys’ Portrait Gallery London

2008 

Art exchange / Hubei Institute of Art, China

Artfair Utrecht / My Own Choice

2007 

AAF Amsterdam / My Own Choice

2005 

Sasol New Signatures / finalist

1990 

Corobrick Ceramic Competition Cape Town / finalist

 

ART RESIDENCIES

2013 

Fellowship to The Ampersand Foundation in New York USA

2007 

Art Exchange Hubei Institute of Art in Wuhan Central China and Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa

2004 

Community Arts Workshop where 10 artists from diverse walks of life exploring the first 10 years of democracy through individual and collaborative artworks

Everard Read, Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town, South Africa

1998 

One of 12 artists, 6 from South Africa and 6 from Germany working together in Lauenberg, Germany

 

COLLECTIONS

Works included in private collections in South Africa, London, France, Germany, Luxenburg, Caymen Islands and U.S.A