Prism 5 and Prism 7

Wim Botha
Botha utilizes varied materials such as bronze, paper, polystyrene, marble, and wood to explore weighty issues of history, status, power, and religion. His sculptures reference some of the most iconic images and icons in the European artistic canon. The Rodinesque appearance of his rough-edged bronzes, the traditional busts emulating Greco-Roman antiquities, and even pieces that allude to specific sculptures (Michelangelo’s *Pietà* is a prime example) all serve to reference and disrupt the Western art historical timeline. Botha’s take on classical or conventional art history, however, is blurred, deconstructed, or fractured—though his works indicate the original meaning of a work of art, that meaning is equally subverted. These sculptures are part of the same series, each bearing the title of *Prism*, yet each one has unique qualities that distinguish it from its artistic sibling. They feature a set of wings suspended above the ground by thin rectangular supports, which seem to both lift the wings and tether them to the earth. The supports jut out from underneath the wings, adding dimension and a sense of sharp danger to the pieces. Similarly, the jagged edges and sinewy texture of the wings give them the appearance of having feathers, but they lack softness. Are these the wings of angelic figures, mostly unseen and silent? Or are they something a bit darker—vultures or crows, for example?
Wim Botha, *Prism 5*, 2013, and *Prism 7*, 2014, bronze and stainless steel, dimensions variable, Purchased with funds from the Modern and Contemporary Deaccession Fund



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