STEVENSON Cape Town present Still Life with Flowers by Wim Botha, his ninth exhibition with the gallery.
While the artist’s recent exhibitions have featured crystalline forms, reflective surfaces and fluorescent fixtures engaging light and movement, Still Life with Flowers stands as an introspective counterpoint. New oil paintings on raw cotton with natural pigments and ash, together with sculptures carved in walnut, shift attention to the landscape, creating immersive environments that are at once calming and tumultuous.
Entry into the exhibition is marked by a seemingly nocturnal installation of paintings and sculpted objects. Terrestrial forms – crows, mantises, various fragments and anatomical parts – are mounted on indigo walls; crafted with wood, wax and marble, these outline a constellation both archaeological and votive. Paintings are layered in dark hues, scattered with flashes in red and amber as evocative of wildfires as autumnal leaves.
The notion of a precarious landscape is further articulated in the series of paintings at the centre of this exhibition. Still Life with Flowers 1 to 14 are tightly arranged as a frieze to facilitate a space of contemplation. These spare paintings, at times ethereal, at others visceral, hover between abstract marks and records of movement and distant events, between the genres of landscape and still life. Delicately carved portraits inhabit this unfolding landscape, their dark walnut in stark contrast to the bright expanse of canvas. Clusters of impasto marks echo both wounds and flora, prompting questions on how buoyant and turbulent events are equally held in time and place.
This exhibition follows Heliostat, Botha’s survey exhibition at the Norval Foundation. His acclaimed Mieliepap Pietà, originally commissioned for the Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York, is set to go on long-term view at St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town. Another career overview opens at the North Carolina Museum of Art in April, interweaving existing works with new installations under the title Still Life with Discontent.
Botha was born in Pretoria in 1974. He graduated from the University of Pretoria with a BA (Visual Art) in 1996. He lives in Cape Town. He has received a number of prestigious awards, including the Helgaard Steyn Prize for sculpture in 2013, the Standard Bank Young Artist Award in 2005, and the first Tollman Award in 2003. Recent solo exhibitions have taken place at the Norval Foundation (2018); Galerie Hans Meyer (2017); Feldbusch Wiesner Rudolph (2017); Fondation Blachère in Apt, France (2016); Galerie Jette Rudolph, Berlin (2015); the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown (2014); Kunstraum Innsbruck, Austria (2013), and the Sasol Art Museum, Stellenbosch, as the Stellenbosch University Wordfest Artist for 2013.
OPENING: The exhibition opens on Tuesday 19 March from 6-8pm.