Alta Botha was born in 1955 in Pretoria, South Africa, and works as an independent artist in Cape Town. Her work currently focuses on the processes and materiality of contemporary drawing, exploring the fragile and often contradictory balances that operate within relations of power.
Botha regards drawing as a complex filtering process between inner and outer processes – between deep structures of thought and its manifestation into action as surface structure. Using paper and found and activated charcoal as primary materials, she works towards transforming the materiality of substances and surfaces through reductive and ‘abusive’ procedures. These transformations are central to the incremental unfolding between processes of conscious and unconscious awareness.
Dematerialising actions of erosion and perforation – the scraping and sanding of paper, and the burning of wood to charcoal – are counterbalanced by processes of retrieval and reconstruction, like the sewing together and dressing of torn surfaces. Alta Botha’s acts of reparation recall an earlier career in nursing – her hand stitching, as a mark and a conveyer of meaning, is linked to care.
Solo exhibitions include Angle of repose, Odd objects and Fragile equilibriums.
Master of Fine Art, Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town – graduated cum laude.
Bachelor of Visual Arts, UNISA – awarded Visual Arts Prize.
Alta Botha embarked on a career in nursing (1973-1980), caring predominantly for intensive care patients after qualifying in General Nursing and Midwifery. On raising a young family of her own, a course in pattern design (1983) enabled her to generate income producing high-end clothing from home. Jewellery design and manufacture (1991-92) honed artisanal skills and satisfied a persistent longing for creativity until she was in a position to start her fine art studies.
CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS FROM SOUTH AFRICA. Imago Mundi, Pratt Institute of Brooklyn, New York
HOWEVER. ArtHub Gallery, Creekside, London
CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS FROM SOUTH AFRICA. Imago Mundi, Venice
WHAT LIES BENEATH. Equus Gallery, Cavalli Estate, Somerset West
fragile equilibriums. MFA Examination Exhibition – Distinction. Michaelis Galleries, Michaelis School of Fine Arts, University of Cape Town
HERE THERE: A conversation between Michaelis and Wits Masters 2013. Michaelis Galleries, Michaelis School of Fine Arts, University of Cape Town
15 square Kunst macht Schule gGmbH. Hamburg, Germany
THE GIFT OF FINE ART. I-ART, Cape Town
KLADBOEK. Word Festival, University of Stellenbosch
UNIVERSE. Private Commission
(sub)TEKS. Word Festival, University of Stellenbosch
ODD OBJECTS. Abalone Gallery, Hermanus
ANGLE OF REPOSE. Association for Visual Arts, Cape Town
ARTWORDS. Cultural Centre, Durbanville
SEVEN DEADLY SINS. Cultural Centre, Durbanville
ANGLE OF REPOSE. BVA Examination Exhibition, UNISA. Art-B, Bellville Visual Arts Prize – UNISA
SELF PORTRAIT. Cultural Centre, Durbanville
TRILOGY. Cultural Centre, Durbanville
FLOWERS AND VASES. Cultural Centre, Durbanville
MEMORIES OF HADRIAN. International Group Exhibition, Temple of Hadrian, Rome Italy
SUMMER SALON. Cultural Centre. Durbanville
Prize – Best Graphic Work
CRISP. Art B, Bellville