• Jo Roets

    Jo Roets
    • Artist Statement
      • In my work I explore my fascination with the geometric patterns and symmetry found in the complex structures of nature. I use a variety of mediums and processes - and push the paper thin material to almost breaking point in the creation of my light relief sculptures.



    • Biography
      • Capetonian Jo Roets is a passionate painter, sculptor and mould maker working in both abstract and figurative form.
         
        She works in a variety of mediums including clay, wood and acrylic paint. Jo is interested in investigating two main themes. Firstly patterns and shapes found in traditional divergent South African cultures and secondly human portraits reflecting recovery from addiction.
         
        In her 'light relief sculptures' she explores patterns and shapes derived from various South African cultures from Ndebele designs to her grandmother's crocheted doilies. Jo pushes the clay medium to almost breaking point in order to create a fascinating paper-thin warped finish.
         
        Jo's professional background is in film in particular the production of artworks for the industry. She has also lectured students at a tertiary level in this field. This included painting, prosthetics, special effects, props fabrication, sculpting, mould making and casting. In 2017, after 14 years as a senior lecturer at CityVarsity, Jo exchanged her lecturing cap for that of full time artist.
         
        Art has always been a central point for Jo and she has high expectations for her art career. She is passionate about establishing herself as an emerging artist in both the South African and international art arena.

        Selected Exhibitions:

        2018
        Fish out of water - group exhibition/auction, Everard Read, Cape Town
        SASA 2018 Members' 1 - group exhibition, Kirstenbosch, Cape Town
        Members Exhibition - group show,Art B Gallery, Bellville

        2017
        Tollman Buchard Finleyson Art Award - group exhibition, Hermanus
        The Chicken Challenge - group exhibition/auction, The White River Gallery, Nelspruit

        2016
        The Chicken Challenge - group exhibition/auction, The White River Gallery, Nelspruit
        I was one of eight artists commissioned by Sappi to create a piece for this exhibition. Along with Ardmore, Anton Bosch, Ayanda Nkosi, Niki Daly, Karin Daymond, Rogerio de Andrade and Margi Malan.

        2015

        The Chicken Challenge - group exhibition/auction, The White River Gallery, Nelspruit

        2013
        Talking Strings - CityVarsity, Cape Town.
        Commissioned restorer of the original 1970's Liewe Heksie, Blommie Kabouter and Kwaai Baba puppets. The restoration work on these characters took about 4 months to complete before the opening of the exhibition.

        2005

        Franschhoek Art Expo  - group exhibition of 15 artists, Franschhoek Vineyards Building.


    • Interview
      • Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
        I am drawn to the works of Kali van der Merwe, Paula van Coller and Miranda Crooks and their use of botanical elements. I experience calm when observing their work, which is influenced by my own interest in fauna and flora as well as preserved specimens of creatures.

        Which South African deceased artist do you most admire and why?

        Vladimir Tretchikoff would be my favourite with Alexis Preller close on his heels. I love the vibrant colour use in their work - specifically the use of bluish-green and turquoise tones.

        If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
        It is impossible to choose just one - I'd rather choose three
        The 'Mona Lisa of kitch' - Tretchikoff's "Chinese Girl"
        Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss"
        Frida Kahlo's "Self Portrait Dedicated to Dr Eloesser"

        How did you get started? Did you always want to be an artist?
        Although I am not trained as a fine artist, art has always been a central point in my life and fine art practices are interwoven in my education and professional careers. School years included ceramics and sculpture subjects at Jack Meyer and P.J. Olivier art schools. After matriculating in 1997, I furthered my studies and obtained a Diploma in Art Direction for film and television as well as an Advanced Diploma in Motion Picture Production Design. Following this, I was involved in the production of art required by the film industry before my lecturing career started. I lectured in sculpting, moulding, casting, painting, props fabrication, special effects and prosthetics.

        I have always been an artist dreaming of the day when I can quit my day job to pursue a fulltime art career. This moment has finally arrived.

        What are some of the key themes you explore in your work?

        Light Relief Sculptures : I find inspiration from historical shapes and patterns within divergent South African cultures. It is an exploration of shapes and the relationship between them when they are merged. My fascination with geometric patterns and the symmetry found in the complex structures of nature is the other constant in my work.

        Paintings: In my portrait paintings I draw inspiration from the 'Fayum' panel portraits. Where the Fayum portraits were created during the individual's lifetime and later used on their mummy cases to aid the passage to eternal life, I now narrate the individuals' life in reverse. The focus of these paintings is to portray the transition of fellow recovering alcoholics from their destructive previous lives to their newly found functioning sober selves.

        What inspired your latest body of work?
        The biggest inspiration stems from my own personal experience as a recovering alcoholic. I have found the power of human connectivity to be a healing and powerful catalyst of personal growth. I hold the belief that we are all connected within a golden structure and observe this phenomenon through the lives of a diverse range of people who are also recovering from similarly destructive pasts.

        Tell us more about your creative process.
        I have a great passion and sincere commitment towards both sculpture and painting and therefore produce works in both mediums.

        Light Relief Sculptures
        These pieces are sculpted with tough, specialized air-drying clay. My initial design has a fleeting purpose as a point of departure after which I allow the malleability of the clay as well as the process itself to guide the work towards completion. I combine shapes and encouraging them to co-exist in a new structure.

        Painting
        Intentional gouging, scraping and marking are all part of the preparation of my wooden canvases to represent a preceding broken-down existence of self. After which portraits are created by applying a peeling acrylic paint technique - adding more layers, taking them off and finally exposing the true colour underneath.

        What drives you as an artist?
        Finding the connection between people from divergent cultures and backgrounds.

        Do you have a favourite or most meaningful work?

        I started a portrait painting of my grandmother in June 2017, two weeks before she fell ill and went into hospital. It was my entry for Sanlam Portrait Award 2017 ('Martha Maria' - Acrylic on calico board). A special moment took place when I showed her the finished painting right before she passed away five weeks later at the age of 82.
        It was so significant to be working on her portrait in between hospital visits. Painting a little line in her eye and seeing that same delicate line when looking at her in ICU. I worked from two old photographs that was taken when she was 17 years old. At the time she got engaged to my grandfather. My full name, Jo-Mari, is a combination of both their names - Joseph and Maria.

        What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
        One of the highlights of my career was to restore iconic South African puppets popular with young TV watchers in the 70’s. In 2013, The Little Marionette Company who were the custodians of Liewe Heksie, Blommie Kabouter, Kwaai Babatjie and Matewis puppets employed me for the difficult task of restoring the fragile originals. I was responsible for the intricate and multifaceted process of re-sculpting, creating moulds, casting and painting of their diminutive body parts and their final reassembling.

        What are your aspirations for the future?
        I look forward to my first solo exhibition in the near future and passionate about establishing myself as an emerging artist in both the South African and international art arena.


  • Searching For Shape #NR4 - Sculpture by Jo Roets JO ROETS
    Searching For Shape #NR4
    Sculpture / 22 x 27 cm
    $230
  • Geometrix #NR2 - Sculpture by Jo Roets JO ROETS
    Geometrix #NR2
    Sculpture / 43 x 43 cm
    $530
  • Geometrix #NR1 - Sculpture by Jo Roets JO ROETS
    Geometrix #NR1
    Sculpture / 43 x 43 cm
    $530
  • Searching For Shape #NR3 - Sculpture by Jo Roets JO ROETS
    Searching For Shape #NR3
    Sculpture / 22 x 27 cm
    $230
  • Searching For Shape #NR2 - Sculpture by Jo Roets JO ROETS
    Searching For Shape #NR2
    Sculpture / 22 x 27 cm
    $230
  • Searching For Shape #NR1 - Sculpture by Jo Roets JO ROETS
    Searching For Shape #NR1
    Sculpture / 22 x 27 cm
    $230