28 February – 17 March 2019
about the exhibition
“On a personal and allegorical level, these glyphs can be interpreted as saying something about each of us – our fragility and ageing, the struggle for survival and the sense of beauty in simply existing. When working, in many ways I lose conscious control over my glyphs, they take over and direct the forms that will appear in my art. I deliberately wish to abdicate control so that it is the language of the glyphs, rather than the dictates of the artist, that will prevail.” GW Bot
The prints, paintings and sculpture of GW Bot engage with the environment in a topographic and metaphysical sense, and can be interpreted as an allegory for a person’s passage through life. Through her unique visual language of glyphs, GW Bot maps the landscape – not literally, but intuitively – with her markings always born from personal experience. This extensive repertoire of glyph motifs occurs across all mediums of her work. On one level, they are evocative of branches and twigs and have also been likened to the moth tracks on scribbly gums, but they also refer to more holistic systems of thinking about the environment including morphic, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic systems. Her glyphs operate on a number of levels with allusion and association to forms abstracted from the landscape. Parallels may also be drawn with cosmological markings, mapping out the progression of time, seasons or natural events. Through printmaking, Bot’s use of the linocut allows for flexibility of line and an intricacy of execution. For over a decade, Bot has also been working with bronze and rusted steel, creating impressively scaled glyph relief sculptures which appear “stark, stringent and struggling but nevertheless alive and seem to dance.” Recently, Bot completed a residency at the Canberra Glassworks which has extended the mediums she uses to also include glass. GW Bot draws her exhibiting name from an early French citation to a wombat or ‘le grand Wam Bot’. This remains her totemic identity that confirms a oneness with the environment. In all variations of her work, GW Bot marries a mastery of technique with unlimited creativity and intuition.
GW Bot studied in London, Paris and Australia, graduating from the Australian National University in 1982. She has been a full-time artist since 1985 and has held over fifty five solo exhibitions in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles and Manila. She has been a finalist in numerous prizes including most recently the Geelong acquisitive print award and Wynne Prize. In 2014, she was the winner of the John & Elizabeth Newham Pring Memorial Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. Her work is represented in over one hundred public collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, The Albertina (Vienna), British Museum (London), Victoria and Albert Museum (London), Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris) and Fogg Museum of Fine Arts (Harvard University, USA), as well as numerous Australian regional galleries, corporate collections and domestic and international tertiary, college and academy art collections.