Themes and subjects that are often found in Janet Botes’s work are mostly nature-inspired and include trees, insects, foliage and animals. She also draws inspiration from personal experiences, daily life and spirituality. She works in a variety of mediums and formats that include mixed media, photography, painting, drawing, land art, performance art, sculpting and digital media. Found objects are used in sculptures, installations and mixed media works, and the artist creates art from discarded or waste materials, in what she terms ‘creative recycling’. Her work is intuitive and largely process based, with the conceptual focus serving as the spark, which then grows organically throughout the production or creation of the artwork. In other words, the initial concept might change and evolve towards a different theme or concept in the final artwork – guided by the creative process and the insights gained from the circumstances around the artwork’s creation. The process are often also guided by spontaneous responses to the subject matter and materials, and in this sense each artwork is a new experience and exploration of both the subject and the tools.

 

“Just as central as the concept ‘nature’ is to my work as source of inspiration and material, photography is integral. It’s the way I document my process, my in situ work, but also an act of creation within itself. A way to express and show my view of the world… To highlight certain things and choose the angle or perception of any particular artwork. Photography is a very selective process. I don’t take photos of everything I see – I choose what I want to remember, and what I want to show to others.”

Janet gets inspired by walking in nature, deep discussions and work by other artists. Some artists whose work inspire her are Strijdom van der Merwe, Richard Long, Andy Goldsworthy, Willem Boshoff, Lien Botha, Berni Searle, Ian Marley, and Marina Abramovic.

Mixed Media

Janet’s mixed media work includes installation art, assemblage sculptures and mixed media drawing/painting. She often uses found objects or discarded materials, as well as natural found materials. Themes for these works vary between nature-derived concepts and personal experiences. Trees, insects, landscapes, leaves, sand, animals, seeds and rocks are things of beauty and interest; while love, trust, integrity and connection are some of the personal values that are worked into visual expressions. Janet also writes poetry and integrates this with her visual work.

 

Ephemeral work

Janet’s land art is very often transient, time-specific or temporary. This is done not only in order to not leave a lasting impact on the site, but also to emphasise the impermanence and flux of life, and sometimes to put into focus how fragile and temporary our lives are 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.

Video depicting the artist’s approach to land art

“…my temporary work is in response to being part of a society who chase material wealth rather than spiritual wealth and health, and who often use 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, star dust and energy that form part of this intricate web of life.”

Read more about Janet’s approach to land art