Untitled (Landscape, Piket-bo-berg)
Oil on canvas
Image size: 70 x 90 x 2.5cm
The South Africa landscape is the specific occupation in my work and not landscape in a more generic sense. An occupation which links us and imbeds us in the sense of our physical but also historical environment. But simultaneously the landscape interests me as a space which functions neatrally to all social and historical events enacted upon its surface - in other words, in the heart of the country, in the barren interior it remains forever unchanged. Confronted by this landscape, we are pulled from the specific into the timeless. Yet this escape, this psychological outsurge, is never attained since any final escape from ourselves is not possible and the image of the landscape surrounding us is only maintained by the window of our mentally/ historically/ socially constructed world - in other words, by language. (And such then the paradoxical predicament of Kasper David Friedrich's lone wanderer who so ceaselessly yearns for the immaculate death.
My work is described in a text for a recent exhibition as follows:
"The psychological landscape of South African identity is explored in a tactile, visceral style of painting by juxtaposing anonymous figures in anonymous spaces with images of the South African Interior. This semi-desert landscape is typified in Louw's work by the repeated stretches of dry bush, waterless riverbeds and the continual presence of mountain chains on the horison. Louw's consistent preoccupation with 'the vulnerable intimate', as he calls it, is represented in the most recent works by variations of the same female figure juxtaposed with this consuming and impersonal landscape." Of course, the landscape could also function differently - depending on each work.