Art

Clive van den Berg’s latest show shakes up our notion of landscape art

The exhibition, titled Underscape, at the Goodman Gallery in Joburg, is as much about undoing how we look at landscapes as it is about representing them

09 January 2022 - 00:00 By Graham Wood

You have to go and see Clive van den Berg’s new exhibition at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg. It’s not just that I think it is worth a visit; his new paintings are so much about the physical experience of standing in front of them that it’s hard to get a proper sense of them without seeing them in the flesh. While much pandemic art has inevitably become screen-friendly (and Van den Berg’s landscape-inspired and sometimes vividly visceral colours might look good on the page or screen) the full effect is only possible if you actually go and discover what it feels like to be in the same room as them.

First, they’re big. Some of them are the full height of the gallery walls and as wide. Looking at them is both a matter of standing back and trying to take in the whole canvas at once, and going right up to take a close look at the details. You find yourself moving around, stepping backward and forward, letting your eyes travel over the huge painted surfaces...

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