Vanessa Berlein is a South African artist, born in 1968 in Mpumalanga. Berlein studied Fine Art for two years at the Natal Technicon in Durban, majoring in painting. This experience gave her a chance to regard new narratives in painting as she became interested in exploring the theatrics of societies revelries. In 1989, she moved to Johannesburg and studied prosthetic make-up, further influencing her love for the drama of human expression, theatric and story.
Many of Berlein’s paintings are influenced by the techniques of 16th century Dutch and Flemish art. Her works merge these early influences with later explorations of abstraction, the use of thread, metal leafing, and industrial products, resulting in a final work that elicits a sense of wonder. Berlein explores a broad spectrum of subjects from portraiture to landscapes and abstraction to botanical beauty.
Today, Berlein works out of a studio she shares with artists in Woodstock, Cape Town, primarily focusing on painting. She has exhibited and curated extensively in South Africa and abroad.