The Theatre of the Mother-Cord

In her upcoming solo exhibition at 99 Loop, Cape Town-based Ilené Bothma celebrates what she calls a ‘weird marriage’ – between the artistic and domestic self, between fine art and craft materials, and between critical distance and emotional experience. 

This collection of paintings, soft sculptures and installation pieces is a continuation of Bothma’s previous work, which deals with issues of female and domestic relationships, through an uncanny distortion of the familiar and comfortable. 

To explore the interactions between the private and public roles of women, Bothma combines both traditional fine art media, such as watercolour, with techniques more often regarded as craft, like embroidery, sewing and knitting. All her work, though, is labour-intensive, with lace masks hand-painted in incredibly fine detail, and portraits painstakingly stitched on antique handkerchiefs. This process is a reflection on the repetitive nature of our daily lives. As she explains, ‘The home self experiences the relationships and lives in the domestic space, whereas the artistic self analyses them’.

Through the use of strange materials and combinations, re-imagining stockings as skins and hair as fine cracks in vintage crockery, Bothma asks us to question our own comfort, to perhaps feel discomfort with the quotidian and identify with the metaphorical layers of lace and knitted masks she wears in her own work.

Bothma received a BA in Fine Art (with distinction) in 2003 and an MA in Fine Art in 2007, both degrees from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. She received a second MA in Fine Art (with distinction) in 2011 from Northumbria University in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom. She lives and works in Cape Town.

When: 25 October – 25 November 2017
Where: 99 Loop Gallery, 99 Loop Street, Cape Town