For artists painting is a way in which an ideal is pursued and visualized.
But painting and drawing are often, as a method,.far from ideal: canvas is difficult to handle, paper tears or discolours, paint is sticky, thinners are unhealthy, pastels shed dust, etc.
And then, aside from the technical flaws, there are still the intrinsic questions which repeatedly pop-up: why to paint, what to paint, and how?
Having to live with these antitheses is not the ideal, and solving them may last an artist’s entire lifetime.
There is an expression by the poet Bert Schierbeek which the painter, Jan van den Berg quotes with pleasure, because, according to him, his own ideal is therein clearly worded: “time and again wanting to say the same thing with yet fewer words”.
And “with fewer words” means then for the painter: painting images which are as ethereal as possible and wherein movement as well as calm, but also transparency and solitude are present. And upon viewing, the observer may no longer feel any contra- distinctions.
“Current and undercurrent”, the action and the thought, or the unconscious, can find one another in a self-evident manner in one object: the painting.
With the ideal, painting in a “self-evident manner” in mind, Jan van den Berg has worked long on a technique which makes it possible for him to achieve this ideal image. He has found this in a combination of painting with ink and colourful casein-paint on transparent layers of paper on panel.Doing away with the apparent contradiction between drawing on paper and painting on canvas, combining the two techniques is one of the great acqirements which characterize Jan van den Berg’s works.
This method of work enables Van den Berg to work further on the ideal which the he has in mind: the attainment of the unity between life and work, between ideas and their execution in the painting.
Aloys van den Berk