In ‘Between Grief & High Delight,’ Bothma uncovers her experience of motherhood. There is a sense that the truth of being a mother exists in the space between these polarities, in the everyday routines of child- rearing.
It is in this complex space that Bothma, a mother of two, situates her work, which lies on the spectrum between multiple binaries – art and craft; personal and public; mastery and mystery.
Multiplicity is revealed in Bothma’s use of scale. Her finely-rendered paintings feature mother and child larger than life. The size of the figures reflects those of the intense emotions involved. Aside from the monochromatic backgrounds, the only colour featured is the pink of intimate biology, where the boundaries between mother and child are erased.
Bothma’s media are varied: smooth and rough, fragile and pliable. Scaled up knitted skinscapes are textured flaps serving as a reminder of our origins. Portraits on ceramic plates are intimate moments, hidden between floral patterns on oddly fleshy clay. Through complexity and process, the performative nature of what Bothma does exposes the constant labour of parenting tasks. It also, however, serves as a meditative escape.
While ‘Between Grief & High Delight’ exposes aspects of being a mother perhaps not often acknowledged, the thread running through all the work is its power, connection and strange beauty.