Jo Roets is a sculptor, painter, and mould maker from Cape Town whose passion for art has been central to her life. Her unique artworks are created from paper-thin air-drying clay, with indents, holes, and incisions made using toothpicks and needles. Jo has a background in the film industry and lectured in various art-related subjects before becoming a full-time artist. Her work has been exhibited in various galleries in South Africa, Spain, and the United Kingdom and she has won several awards and been a finalist in various art competitions.
Capetonian Jo Roets is a passionate sculptor, painter and mould maker. Art has always been a central theme in Jo’s life and art practices are interwoven in her education and professional careers.
She calls her clay artworks ‘light relief sculptures’. The way Jo uses the medium is unique. The artworks are created from an air-drying clay medium, which is rolled out to a paper-thin thickness to create delicate bass relief sculptures. Using unusual sculpting tools such as toothpicks and needles, she scores the damp surface with indents, holes and incisions. Part of her creative challenge is to push the medium to its breaking point, encouraging it to warp in the process. This warping quality is unique to the each artwork and unplanned.
Her school years included Sculpture and Ceramics subjects at P.J. Olivier art school in Stellenbosch. After matriculating in 1997 from Hoër Meisieskool Bloemhof, she furthered her studies and obtained a Diploma in Art Direction for film and television as well as an Advanced Diploma in Motion Picture Production Design.
Jo’s background is in the film industry where she worked as an artist in the art department. She also had a full-time lecturing career, lecturing in painting, prosthetics, special effects, props fabrication, sculpting, mould-making and casting at a multimedia film school. In 2017, after 14 years as a senior lecturer, she exchanged her lecturing apron for one of a full-time artist.
In 2018, Jo’s work was selected for three prominent art competitions:
Sasol New Signatures, Pretoria Art Museum (finalist); Tollman Bouchard Finlayson Art Award Barrel Head Exhibition, Hermanus (finalist) and Vuleka, Art.B Gallery, Bellville (finalist).
She was announced as the winner of the inaugural StateoftheART Gallery Award in 2018. In 2021, Jo was announced as one of the Tollman Bouchard Finlayson Art Award winners as well as an awardee of the coveted international Sustainable Arts Foundation Grant. She had her first solo exhibition in 2019 at StateoftheART Gallery and her second solo at Artbox Gallery and Rust-en-Vrede gallery in 2022.
Her work has been exhibited at a wide variety of South African galleries, including SMAC, StateoftheART, Lizamore & Associates, Rust & Vrede, GUS, Imibala, Nel, Breytenbach Gallery, No End Contemporary, Art@Africa, Johann van Heerden, Christo Coetzee Museum and Mok Gallery to name a few. Apart from participating in gallery exhibitions, her work has also been exhibited at festivals around South Africa. These include, KKNK, Tulbagh Arts Festival, Hermanus FynArts Festival and US Woordfees.
She is currently exhibiting at various galleries in South Africa, Spain and the United Kingdom.