South African artist Bev Butkow (b. Johannesburg 1967) arrived late to the arts, first holding a paint brush at age 43. As a self-taught artist, she embraces an instinctive and incidental way of working, forging a unique path through her playful experimentation. Her process-based practice is an ongoing conceptual and material cycle of unravelling order, followed by attempts to make sense of disorder. Her handwoven hybrid semi-sculptural assemblages are ephemeral, never settling into solid reified form, yet are grounded in physical materialities––the rhythmic gestures of her artist-woman body and a cacophony of surplus/scrap materials that pay homage to her grandmother’s accumulation. Her forms give texture to embodied experiences of women and re-imagine alternatives.
Re-orienting from a career in finance, in 2022 she obtained a Master of Fine Arts with distinction from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg under scholarship from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. She has exhibited, inter alia, at the Dakar Biennale, Wits Origins Centre Museum, Wits Art Museum, 1-54 London, Cape Town Art Fair and Art Joburg. Mobilizing her diverse experiences and perspectives within her artistic and scholarly practices, she is grounded in her responsibility as an artist, maker, communicator and social actor and deeply committed to social engagement and education. She has presented at academic conferences and workshops, and is published in academic journals.