Behind the seen

In her latest series, Behind the Seen, girls are presented in exaggerated costume to provoke commentary on the hyperreal tropes of femininity. Her titular series is an appropriation of the theatrical idiom, ‘behind the scene’. For the artist, this references to what is behind the mere visible and behind the façade. Employing both Pop and contemporary elements, she uses embellishments of puffed sleeves, large collars and crinoline dresses to emphasise the enduring power of female canons. Her portrait compositions take from Old Master paintings, and the enchanting dichotomy that she creates is provocatively realised within a dreamy, playful atmosphere.
As a mother to two daughters, childhood has become a leitmotif in her body of work. She has become inspired by their worlds of imagination, how an unabashed curiosity implores a fascinating path towards awareness through innocent bliss. It is this transition from pure naivety to experience that fascinates Van den Berg.

Digital collages

Barbara van den Berg’s digital collages are an assemblage of photographs of children, men and women to comprise a whole image that embodies the diversity and complexity of humanity.


Her figurative paintings will typically portray children in bright colours with an ‘open mind’. Their wide-eyed gazes and slightly chubby cheeks accentuate a childish innocence. They obtain a doll-like quality that straddles between being human and a puppet.