My process & materials

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Oryx/Gemsbok created from stones - land art by Janet Botes

A good example of my creative process can be seen in the way I worked during the Thupelo workshop held in Cape Town in June 2016. During the workshop I organised a land art outing to Granger Bay, had my fellow artists interact with a pebble, created a textual work in the library of Ruth Prowse art school, created in-camera double-exposures (including the other artists’ work), created an installation with leaves and sand, cut shapes and holes into leaves, as well as drew lines with water on the bricks of the school.

Some of my work is very transient, ephemeral, time-specific, or temporary to minimise my impact on the site and emphasise the impermanence and flux of life, and the cyclical nature of our physical world. I focus on honouring the fragility and temporary nature of our lives when perceived in relation to geological time, even though we tend to strive so hard for longevity and eternal youth. These works only live on through photographic documentation that captures the moment after creation, or sometimes a sequence of images that document the decay or destruction of the artwork.

My temporary work is also in response to being part of a society that chases material wealth rather than spiritual wealth and health, and that often uses resources in a way that does not consider the future of life on the planet. In our pursuit to make things lasting – whether it is our youth, investment art, or our houses – we tend to use materials and chemicals that harm not only ourselves, but our soil, our water, and all other life that share the Earth with us. My work is an attempt at returning to the eternal present moment, returning to our own essence as soil, stardust, and energy that form part of this intricate web of life.

My land art and other in situ, time-specific, and interactive work often serve as a starting point for my work in the studio.

Themes that I’ve explored in my previous work include METAMORPHOSIS  /  SPOOR  /  ORGANISM.
Journeys are also an underlying theme in my work due to my own travels through landscapes (and thus my own personal relationship with the sites I visit), and this theme is evident in my Nuances series – a series of limited edition archival landscape prints on Hahnemuhle.