The eponymous work from Jaco van Schalkwyk’s exhibition, Constraint at Gallery AOP in 2013, the present lot is part of a series of three examples of varying media that include a drawing and a tapestry made later in collaboration with Marguerite Stephens, all using the same compositional structure.
In a period in which the artist’s abiding interest was in colour, this work is defining because it reveals van Schalkwyk’s search for a substrate of painting with lithographic ink whereby aluminium was the obvious choice because of its more formal use in printmaking. Serving then as a bridge between painting and drawing, Constraint, here in its present and most immediate form is at the core improvisational, described by the artist as “a high wire act”.
Further describing the restless space between mediums that this series occupies, van Schalkwyk explains in an interview:
“I look at my work on paper as being drawings about the language of painting. This is because I feel that there are paradoxes within painting that need to be addressed from outside the medium. For me drawing retains an analytical approach that ensures I find useful, plastic solutions to the problems posed by painting”.1
1. Robert Richardson in conversation with Jaco van Schalkwyk, New York City, May 2013 cited in Wilhelm van Rensburg (ed.) (2013) Jaco van Schalkwyk: Drawings 2011 – 2013, Johannesburg: Gallery AOP.