Taken during a residency in Florence, the first set of images plots Botha's fascination with marketplace stalls along the Mercato di San Lorenzo. Intrigued by these temporarily erected structures and, more importantly, the manner in which the afternoon light filtering through the fabric walls implied "a world of transience, sacred rituals and seclusion", Botha presents the viewer with diffuse, slightly out of focus shots which intimate, through strong contrasts between light and shadow, the presence of ephemeral, elusively liminal spaces.
The visual and thematic resonance between the cocoon/chrysalis of the moth and its metamorphic lifecycle, and these transient, mutable spaces, while a little strained, is no doubt fairly obvious. In the same way, the delicate fragility of the moth, pinned to its polystyrene bed, serves to emphasise the impermanence of these structures and the spaces they enclose. In the museum-like displays of classified and categorised moths, juxtaposed with at times shroud-like folds of fabric, it can be supposed that Botha addresses the transience of mortality and the inevitability of death.
Resplendent with visual and metaphoric allusion as the images are, I am nevertheless forced to consult the artist's statement in order to try and "tie up" the various threads, and in the process weave together the separate components of this exhibition. After reading in the catalogue of Botha's encounters with three Marys (one of whom is mentioned for her connection to the silk trade and her gift to Botha of a small radio - "the size of a human heart"); of a family heirloom destroyed by clothes moths, and memories of a grandfather's cotton fields at sunset, it becomes more evident that Botha's exhibition reveals a concern with the impermanence associated with the continual process of becoming; the transitory nature of experience; and the ethereality of memory.
While Botha acknowledges that the links running throughout her exhibition are "subtle, perhaps even fractured", my impression is that these links, although discernable, are at times a little too fractured, with the result that the exhibition, beautiful in its delicate evocation of universal concerns, is marred by the fact that an acquaintance with the artist's personal experience becomes necessary in order to fully access and appreciate its poignant thematic exploration.