Bruce Backhouse is an eminent landscape painter who resides in Johannesburg. Throughout his career, he has immersed himself in the vast arid interior of South Africa - the Great Karoo and the Kalahari. His paintings are the consequence of the artists intense visceral relationship with uninhabited aridity devoid of human manipulation.
Backhouse took part in the Tswalu AiR - artists in residence program - in 2019 where he produced a number of paintings which are a result of that sojourn.
“The private challenge to myself was to compress 114 000 hectares of unspoiled semi-desert, into a number of canvases and works on paper, each one being approximately a metre square. Capturing the atmosphere of the diversity of Tswalu was, I think, my goal. All artists thrive on big chunks of uninterrupted time. Tswalu provides this perfectly. Concentration is effortless. Not only is the geographical environment ideal, but the studio makes for a working space that very quickly, becomes your own. I have never in my career been as productive, without trying too hard. The time frame of three months suited me perfectly. My methodology was to ride my bike or walk at first light, and at the end of each day I'd carry a sketchbook for referencing. I'd then spend the day painting from memory, in the wonderfully private Tswalu studio. I have always been drawn to that point where the sky touches the land, ie the horizon, and how to interpret that onto paper or canvas. The Tswalu landscapes are highly complex, unique and varied. From clean skies that change daily, to rugged rolling mountains, to seemingly flat dunes that stretch on into a haze of white light. Then there are the colours. The Tswalu sand/earth is impossible to capture. Depending on the light, one minute it’s burnt sienna, then … there are the seasons. As elusive as I’ve found Tswalu, I have found it as stimulating. I was fortunate enough to get two bites of Tswalu: before and after the rains. Hopefully the sensual and atmospheric landscapes are captured on my large-scale canvasses and works on paper.” – Bruce Backhouse on his experience at Tswalu (March 2020).
SOLO AND GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2020 The Clarity of Wilderness – Tswalu, Everard Read Johannesburg & Tswalu 2018 Print-making with Mark Attwood, Artist’s Press 2014 Karoo Preserved, solo exhibition, Everard Read Johannesburg 2013 100, Everard Read Group Centenary Exhibition, Johannesburg Vignette, Carol Lee, Johannesburg Summer Exhibition, Elizabeth Gordon Gallery, Durban 2012 Summer Exhibition, Elizabeth Gordon Gallery, Durban 2011 Durban – A City for all Seasons, Elizabeth Gordon Gallery, Durban 2010 A view from the South, Everard Read, Johannesburg Solo exhibition, Obert Contemporary, Melrose Arch, Johannesburg Summer Exhibition, Gallery 88, Paarl 2009 Solo exhibition Watercolour Monotypes & Etchings, David Krut Gallery 2008 Exhibition at Grande Provence Gallery, Franschoek Exhibition at Upper Deck Gallery, Plettenberg Bay 2007 Launch Solo show of David Krut's new space, Johannesburg. Exhibition at UNISA Gallery, "David Krut Prints". 2005 Exhibition at Everard Read Johannesburg 1982 Solo exhibition at Ronnie van der Walt Gallery, Melville. 1980 Solo exhibition at The Market Theatre Gallery. ART FAIR’S 2015 – 2018 Turbine Art Fair, Carol Lee, Johannesburg 2015 Venice Biennale, Benetton Project Artist 2013 Sydney Contemporary, Everard Read Johannesburg 2008 – 2012 Johannesburg Art Fair, Everard Read, Johannesburg RESIDENCY PROGRAMS 2019 Tswalu Oppenheimer Kalahari Reserve, three-month artist residency