Artists Julia van Schalkwyk and David Liknaitzky exhibit at Art.b Gallery in Bellville for the first time. Titled Masters Choice, it runs from 17 April to 8 May, 2021.

Julia van Schalkwyk was born in 1962 in Alkmaar, the Netherlands. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Stellenbosch, initiating various art and craft projects, such as the Diamantfondsprojek in 1990.

Encaustic artist Julia van Schalkwyk x
Encaustic artist Julia van Schalkwyk

Looking for the narrative

She’s delighted to partner with David, as she believes his works will complement the encaustic in many ways. “I’m inspired by many things. I always look for the narrative, even when I’m in nature.  I do love to work abstract, although a lot of my work is planned and graphic by design. Nature is very abstract, everything looks so unplanned, but there is a deliberate plan in the abstract. Encaustic is a highly versatile medium that lends itself to a lot of mixed medium with sculptural qualities as well.”

According to Van Schalkwyk, she always looks for the process in art as the main attraction in everything she does. “It’s mostly a learning process for me and I get a lot of satisfaction in the whole process, namely the making of the encaustic medium, the painting of the layers, the use of heat (in encaustic the medium is either hot or cold, almost like wet and dry in water colour) and a great deal of surprises that come up, mostly by mistake.”

Van Schalkwyk is also a digital artist, starting with being a conceptual photographer. “I do a lot of my designs myself, scanning it into the computer or using drawing programs to start my designs or to modify existing ones. With encaustic you also start with a couple of layers ranging between six and ten layers or more. To me, encaustic gave me that opportunity to work in manual layers, which is much more exhilarating building up these layers, and getting to the end result.”

“It can get very sculptural, but I like the smooth surface with a little bit of texture added or graffito/scratching, frottage, intarsia, or creating burrs to give it extra dimensional qualities. There is also the added bonus to use oil sticks, pan pastels, oil paints (dried out), graphite powders, charcoal and many more. And to polish it up to a real smooth surface when I like to. That is why it’s probably the most versatile medium there is.”

Artist David Liknaitzky
The work of David Liknaitzky

Cold wax paintings

David Liknaitzky was born in Johannesburg in 1932. He studied painting with Sidney Goldblatt, but found that his interest lay mainly in the manual use of tools, metal casting and simple forging.

Says Liknaitzky: “After retiring to Cape Town, I soon found that aluminium casting was somewhat hazardous in a wooden house, and set about developing a simple technique using anodised aluminium rods, beaten and patinaed copper, as well as found Karoo rocks and hand forged tools dug up in junk shops, all used in assemblages on wooden bases.

“These simple, basic elements, especially the small forged stylised copper figures, have remained unchanged over the years. The works illustrate many diverse disciplines, some with a wry sense of fun perhaps, others with possibly more serious overtones,” he says.

Liknaitzky explores many topics including philosophy, poetry, the Karoo and alien type landscapes, holocaust memorials, Antarctic melting, death and friendships, feminism and hypercubes. He comments: “The names of the works are integral to interpretation of the pieces, indeed are often part of the sculptures themselves and some have comments on the back.”

Van Schalkwyk will be exhibiting cold wax paintings as well as encaustic. The cold wax are all abstract, mostly inspired by nature, and the encaustic are mostly all figurative.  She concludes: “Encaustic work by nature lends itself to mixed media, especially collage.  I always try and tell a story in my encaustic images I choose. Some of them are just inspired by nature.”

What: Julia van Schalkwyk and David Liknaitzky
When: 17 April to 8 May 2021
Where:  Art.b Gallery, Bellville Library Centre, Carel van Aswegen Rd, Cape Town
Info: artb@artb.co.za, 021 917 1197, www.artb.co.za
WS