2017 | NYC | Artist
Lawyer 2012, Jelutong wood and oil based paint, 95x20x20cm
Conrad Botes' painting and sculptural practice has its roots in comic book drawing, which he has been exploring for over a decade. Together with Anton Kannemeyer he is co-founder and publisher of Bitterkomix, an iconoclastic comics magazine founded in 1992. The narrative content of his work is usually related to race, gender and violence and their disturbing relationship to power and hierarchy... This biting satire, frequently directed at South African society, politics and religion, is channelled into both his painting and printmaking, and his comics.
"My work often oscillates between different formal practices; I am equally at ease sculpting or painting. I can be equally drawn into the complicated narrative of the comic sequential narrative or the austereness of portraiture. Yet when it comes to the content of my work, I am fundamentally drawn towards allegory and it’s ability to seduce the viewer into a narrative. I am fascinated by the subversive quality an image can possess, where the formal aspects and the physical beauty of a work can draw the viewer in and seduces, and simultaneously being confronted by disturbing content and subject matter. This is why I often choose biblical themes as vehicles for political allegories, they have a familiarity that one can relate to, yet the hold the possibility to mimic reality and challenge beliefs and ideologies. Growing up during Apartheid South Africa, these themes also hold the potential for exploring the intricacies of guilt and complicity and their relationship to violence. I am constantly drawn to the subject of violence and it’s disturbing relationship between race and gender.
Support: Conrad Botes's residency is made possible with support from Yellowwoods Art.