Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Arty xmas pressies

Don't miss out on the Stocking Stuffer exhibition at VANSA, 8 Spin Street, Cape Town, during weekdays 9am-4pm. All artwork are less than R500, so the perfect place to do your christmas present shopping and get some really unique gifts for family and friends! Or...yes, even for yourself.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Quick random update

Currently redesigning www.janetbotes.co.za AND doing some other varied projects and works of art. Keep an eye on VANSA and the AVA for a drawing exhibition "DRAW!" and for a watch exhibiton "Ticking" held for the ArtReach Fund!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wasted Ocean

My first stop motion animation with charcoal on paper!!

The huge amounts of waste that we are producing in our consumer based society have resulted in HUGE rubbish areas in our oceans, already about 100m deep and causing havoc in the natural sea life.

Drawing by: Janet Botes
Post-editing by: Pierre Bezuidenhout

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sangisa Sangisa

I'm now part of an artistic collective initiated by two Congolese painters Philippe KAYUMBA and Many LIBUTA, called Sangisa Sangisa. Have a look at the blog to read more about it at http://sangisa.blogspot.com. I am very excited and looking forward to working with these creative artists, performers and generally very creative people!

Don't miss Sangisa Sangisa at VANSA Western Cape!

vansa western cape

Sangisa Sangisa

Exhibition: performance , installation and painting.

Opening at 6 pm , Monday 21 september 2009

Exhibition closes on Friday 2 October 2009

8 Spin Street Cape Town 8000


(021) 465 7895
(021) 465 7897

Monday, August 17, 2009

Intrigue. Intimacy. Impact.

Review of Weifeling by Wessel Snyman
“Met meegevoel, passie en dapperheid beeld Wessel Snyman “Weifeling” – ‘n boek deur Koos Prinsloo gepubliseer in 1993 – uit in ‘n reeks kunswerke wat fokus op manlikheid, aanvaarding en menslike struwelinge. Wessel se werk is kompleks, intiem en insiggewend met ‘n autobiografiese aanslag wat nie meer dikwels in kontempor√™re kunstenaars se werk gevind word nie.”
Friendly, approachable and passionate about his art, Wessel Snyman is any gallery owner, journalist and editor’s ideal artist. Currently completing his postgraduate qualification at Stellenbosch University and focusing primarily on the integration of text and image, his body of work is conceptual, multifaceted and intriguing.

Following the successful exhibition of his installation “The Birds” at the AVA gallery in July, his current solo exhibition “Weifeling” is a visual interpretation of Koos Prinsloo’s book with the same title, published in 1993. At the same time it is also a reflection and depiction of the artist’s own life experiences and the struggle against society’s prejudices and preconceptions against same-sex relations and masculinity. “Weifeling” is the second of Koos Prinsloo’s four books that Wessel has transformed into a range of artworks, and his artwork reflects his familiarity and understanding for Prinsloo’s writing.

Drawing correlations between artist and writer, Wessel focuses on commonalities between his own life and Koos Prinsloo’s life. The presence of one’s own mortality flows as an undercurrent in the work, while the accepted traditions and standards in culture - particularly the Afrikaans “Boere” culture - are depicted as stifling, limiting and even unreasonable. Wessel’s work is a brave and honest portrayal of his experiences and awareness.

Some of the visual metaphors being used include a tradition of sport participation for boys in schools – expecting a boy to play rugby, do wrestling, or participate in athletics. When opting not to participate, a boy is ‘branded’ as the stereotypical ‘nerd’, softie or even “moffie” (an Afrikaans phrase for a homosexual male). The old tradition of young men being forced to join the army, even though not in use any more, illustrates the obligations and requisites that society and authority dictates to a man. To express the inevitability of one’s own death and also the vulnerability of one’s life, Wessel directs the viewer’s thoughts towards the stars, clouds, flying, and technology versus man. Reference is also made to how man is often bound or unable to “fly free” through the effective use of a bird’s wings in one of the works.

Another devise that is used to great effect in the body of work is the use of a gilded frame in some instances, the use of typography or text, and the inevitable reference to book design. This all supports a concept in tradition, culture and heritage through the conversion and communication of knowledge as well as opinion. At the same time the use of feminine objects or images such as embroidery, lace and flowers that is juxtaposed with accepted masculine images, objects and concepts, leaves no doubt towards which traditions and prejudices Wessel opposes himself through his work. Truly intriguing, relevant and impressive.

“Weifeling” is on exhibit until 30 September 2009 at
Raw Vision, 89 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock. t +27 76 581 9468. www.rawvisiongallery.com

Review of “The Birds”: click

Saturday, August 1, 2009

New work

Oil on canvas
400mm x 400mm

"Braaivleis vir Sondag"
Mixed media on canvas
Approx. 900mm x 600mm

"Braaivleis vir Sondag" is currently exhibited as part of the AVA Members' Exhibition. Association of Visual Arts Gallery, Church Street, Cape Town, ZA. 27 July - 14 August 2009.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Eco Reminders

On 16 July 2009, slapping a bit of green paint onto a few twigs, I took off down Longmarket Street to hand them out to passers-by, as small reminder that we have a natural environment around us that we should not forget about. About 3 people of the about 20-30 people (I didn't count the twigs beforehand) didn't want to take the twig that I offered them, while most people asked about the reason for the twig. Almost everyone said thank you; and I also met a very inspiring man, Mitch, who dwells Greenmarket Square with his goods. He sells packaging material to the market sellers, and also gives something edible to those who have a bad selling day. We surely need more Mitch-characters in our society.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A flight of money and debt

Review of Wessel Snyman’s “The Birds”
By Janet Botes

Hovering above your head in the exhibition space is a great flock of paper birds. At closer inspection you notice the distinctive detail on the paper, identifying the birds as ATM slip birds. The amount of time it took to meticulously fold each ATM bank slip into an origami bird, greatly outweighs the time it takes you to move from the one end of Snyman’s installation to the other. On both of these end walls you will find a framed print relating to the installation.

One of the framed prints is a view of the installation printed onto an ATM bank slip and framed similarly than the first. The result of this print is an amplification of the exhibited work and its character, while also giving a slight digitalized impression that further connects to the current climate of economic affairs in the world.

In this current economic climate, Snyman’s work is not only fitted and timely, but also shows insight and proves to be quirky and catchy. One of the framed prints, “This is not an ATM slip”, not only refers back to the art and practice of artists from the 1960’s and 70’s, but also comments on our consumer lifestyle. This is illustrated quite effectively through the image integrated into the frame of women eating processed foods. We pay substantial amounts of money for luxury, comfort and things we think we need. Debt accumulates as we continue to attain more and more material possessions.

Birds are usually a symbol of freedom, but the sheer amount of birds that hover above the viewer’s head brings to mind a cacophony, should they all start screeching and cawing. This lends the work an unsettling ambiance that suits the anxiety that millions of people feel about the economy, money and their dwindling bank balance. As installation piece, Snyman's work proves effective, striking and relevant.

"The Birds" are on exhibit until 1pm on Friday 24 July 2009 at the Association for Visual Arts Gallery, 35 Church Street, Cape Town, South Africa. Gallery hours: Weekdays 10h00 to 17h00, Saturdays 10h00 to 13h00

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Discussing Art making

Review of Kentridge and Dumas in Conversation
Screened at the Encounters Documentary Festival at the Nu Metro, V&A Waterfront, Tuesday, 7 July 2009
By Janet Botes

This documentary gives insight into the production and thinking processes behind the artwork of two of the most renowned South African artists today. William Kentridge and Marlene Dumas share their working methods, techniques and studios with each other and the viewer. Their art differs in a wide variety of ways, with widely opposing styles and approaches, which proves greatly successful in defining each artist’s work. Scenes of the two artists working in their respective studios, scenes of their work and scenes from an exhibition of each artist’s work were integrated almost seamlessly into the prevailing conversation.

During the conversation, controversial taboos in art were touched slightly, but both artists seemed a bit reluctant to address deeper issues of context and meaning in their work. They were also not encouraged to talk about their thoughts on South African Art at present and how they perceive it, which could have proved insightful and increased the depth of the discussion. Another possible and valuable question would have been to explore how, or if, either artist contributes to supporting new talent and in this way advancing contemporary art into new heights and ventures. Being established and influential, they are essential players in the field, and what they do could have great repercussions.

Even when keeping the above in mind, however, one does realize that these were not issues or themes for the conversation, which was in fact geared toward their art and how they create it. Should the above questions or issues be included in the documentary, it would have lost its focus on artistic production and rather moved its focus into the sphere of artist community examination. This could be another avenue of exploration for the director, Catherine Meyburg, who could prove to be a very successful forerunner in promoting art practice and art discussion through documentary film-making.

Kentridge and Dumas in Conversation screens again on Firday, 17 July 2009 at 6.30 pm. Make sure to book your seat, as they are limited and well worth it.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Pop culture meets surrealism

Review of Originalé, solo exhibition of Louis Minnaar's work
by Janet Botes

At first glance the viewer is transported into a fantasy world in black and white - flying birds, wrinkled men and spider creatures share a space with arrows thrown through the sky and into people, birds and pictures. Dynamic images on screens, as well as recordings in a streetlamp and owl-resembling recorder/player, further enhanced the surreal quality of Louis work in the small space of Salon 91.

His stylised illustration style, the simplity of the imagery and the diversity in form are some of the characteristics making the collection of work a unity without losing the viewer’s interest. Surreal combinations of misformed human bodies and animalistic forms create a phantasmorical undercurrent – and thus creating an own visual language with metaphors that could possibly represent a pursuit of sanity. This is further enhanced by the use of his digital motion manipulations or footage displayed on screens, of which imagery includes sea creatures. The innovative use of audio further expands the tangible manifestation of Minnaar’s ideas.

Balance between the minimalist nature of the black and white imagery and a complexity of content is achieved by using a wide variety of forms, and subjects that include arrows, large eyes, birds, spiders, creatures, ligaments and morphed features. The strange juxtapositions and experimental nature of the work begs for classification as contemporary art, while the graphic quality and clarity of imagery makes it accessible and open to interpretation by a very wide audience.

Little in the work illustrates purely local content, and rather puts the work in a universal and global market. In a South African context, this might reflect on a need of artists to reach further than national borders to make a living or make a difference through their art. But it could also reflect a deeper dissatisfaction with supporting obvious association with Africa, South Africa and the sometimes hyped-up diasporas it create. Regardless of the many different opinions, views and interpretations his work will spark, Louis Minnaar seems to be one of the forerunners for a new state of visual expression in art.

The exhibition runs 30 June 209 – 27 July 2009 at
Salon 91, 91 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town.
Gallery hours Tue-Fri 10am-6pm Sat 10am-2pm

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The City my Canvas

Let's paint, sculpt and artify Cape Town!!!
Artists collaborating for a creative Cape Town.

I'm looking for artists, interested in collaborating with me on a project where we would each create our own public sculptures/artwork in and around Cape Town. We need to meet, plan, talk, share ideas, and eventually create individual-, as well as a collective proposal to be presented to the appropriate authorities for approval.

The project is inspired by the District Six Public Sculpture Project that was endeavored and proved highly successful in 1997. The City my Canvas Project, aims to create high quality permanent artwork that will:
  • communicate a positive message to the community,
  • encourage participation by the public and thus make the arts more accessible to them
  • add to the aesthetic quality of the urban environment,
  • make the city even more enticing to tourists.
Please contact me with your name, contact details, some examples of your work, and your initial idea at art@janetbotes.co.za. Go for it!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Quick little hello and update

Watch this space for some new paintings soon...

I'm taking quite a while to finish quite a few unfinished artworks, and spending a lot of time on finishing the website. But I'm planning on launching the website on Monday, and that leaves next week to paint, design and be really, awesomely creative.

Also keep a lookout for the new Kunspieksels newsletter, and if you're not yet on the mailing list, get your email address to me @ janetbotes@yahoo.com asap!

Peace and love

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Inspired | Invigorated | Invoked

After visiting the Sasol Art Museum in Stellenbosch this weekend, I feel incredibly inspired again. Judith Mason and Willie Bester shared the two-floor gallery, with Mason's work occupying the top floor. A haunting, exciting, exhilirating experience! Her work expresses emotion, creative expression, deeply engrained personal perspectives about the world and a skill for expression that we rarely see or experience in artists' work today.

This is in total contrast to the Western Cape regional finalists exhibition for the ABSA L'Atelier Art competition. There is some really amazing pieces of art, but in my honest opinion, most of them are not as innovative, creative, expressionistic or artistic as art could be. I was merely impressed with the mechanical and conceptual skill of the pieces, instead of being moved. There are SO many debates already about art competitions, the judging process and the representation of Art. I know that I am one of MANY artists who feel that competition and sponsoring does not succeed in what they set out to do. They do not give voice to emerging, struggling artists, but rather to the more established entrants who are able to spend countless amounts of money on framing and presenting their work. This may sound like sour grapes, at not being accepted into the competition. I can honestly say that this is not the case. I do have my own personal feelings about art, galleries' inaccessibility and other things related to getting exposure for my artwork. But I also have an opinion about art, perception and the state of contemporary art when viewed in relation to Art history. Where we were, and where we are now. There's such a wide, diverse span of differing art forms, disciplines and directions - the competitions only represent a fraction of it. Maybe that's why they get so much critique... Because they limit 'what is art' in so many people's eyes. Because they decide which artists is 'better' than other, sometimes purely due to the subject depicted or adherence to current trends.