16 December – 16 January


Cobus van Bosch’s solo exhibition, Quarantine, a reflection on the psychological ramifications of the Covid pandemic, can currently be seen at the Prince Albert Gallery. It has been eight years since his last solo exhibition in his hometown, Prince Albert in the Karoo.

As a visual artist active for more than 24 years in various mediums, Van Bosch currently focuses exclusively on oil painting – mostly portraits and groups of people as an investigation into the human condition in a historical and contemporary South African context.

Cobus van Bosch, Untitled, oil on canvas, 210mm x 300mm


Cobus van Bosch, Untitled, oil on canvas, 210mm x 300mm


His work has long explored specific South African histories such as the South African war (1899 – 1902) and incidents and people rarely mentioned in former history books. In the past four years, he has moved away from historical narratives in favour of a more intuitive and personal approach.

“These days, I’ll start a series of paintings without a specific ‘theme’ in mind,” says Van Bosch. “I simply paint portraits and people whose images evoke a certain emotion in me. Much of my source material comes from existing photographs – or parts thereof – many of a non-South African origin. In the end, all that matters is whether it moves me emotionally or not.”

It is during the process of working with multiple paintings simultaneously that a theme does eventually seem to present itself to Van Bosch, such as childhood experiences, rites of passage, paternalism, or the traditional second-class status of women in society.

“Although many of these works have a personal significance to me, I tend not to give them individual titles anymore, in order to leave them open to multiple interpretations,” Van Bosch adds.

“We live in a physical world, but our experience of it is never without emotion. This is true also for all kinds of art – painting, sculpture, music, theatre, literature, etc. – one tends not to remember the actual details of an artwork as intensely as the emotion it evokes.

“It has often been said that painting is about paint -something I wholeheartedly agree with. Although I use photographs (historical and contemporary) as a reference, I am not really interested in copying the world around me. A painting is also a tactile thing, a physical object with its own characteristics. Furthermore, I love the “happy accidents” that occur when you work fast, expressively and with a loaded brush. The resulting images are not perfect representations of the outside world, but I believe that this makes it more interesting to look at and experience.”

Cobus van Bosch, Untitled, oil on canvas, 210mm x 300mm

The works in Quarantine were painted during the Covid pandemic, the resulting months of lockdown, and its aftermath. “Most of us won’t easily forget the economic downturn and the physical and psychological effects of the event. It was scary, frustrating, and disastrous to the lives and livelihood of millions of people around the world – a very emotional time,” Van Bosch says.

Van Bosch’s first solo exhibition was in 1998 at the Mark Coetzee Fine Arts Cabinet in Cape Town and he has had more than fifteen solo exhibitions since, in galleries and museums all over South Africa. In 2013 his exhibition Forgotten Histories was awarded the Kanna prize for Best Visual Arts show at the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival in Oudtshoorn. Some of his work has been taken up in various corporate and academic collections and museums such as Sanlam, SASOL, Didata, Rand Merchant Bank, McMillan Insurance, the William Humphries Gallery in Kimberley and the Anglo Boer War Museum in Bloemfontein.  Van Bosch was also a visual arts writer for Media24 in the 1990’s and early 2000’s.


The exhibition in Prince Albert will run until 16 January 2023. www.princealbertgallery.com


Cobus van Bosch, Untitled, oil on canvas, 610mm x 910mm

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