Ilené Bothma: The Theatre of the Mother-Cord

Ilené Bothma: The Theatre of the Mother-Cord

From October 25 to November 25, 2017, 99 Loop, Cape Town will present The Theatre of the Mother-cord, a solo exhibition of recent work by Ilené Bothma. Here the artist 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. According to the artist, “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, and perhaps feel discomfort with the quotidian and identify with the metaphorical layers of lace and knitted masks she wears in her own work.

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