Artist in residenceThe UCT Irma Stern Museum is delighted to host the celebrated painter Georgina Gratrix as its second artist in residence. As part of the museum's 50th anniversary year, Gratrix will be working in a studio at the museum from mid-July to September 2022. Works produced during this residency will be exhibited in the UCT Irma Stern Museum from 28 September 2022.
Born a century apart from Irma Stern, Gratrix is likewise a dedicated colourist testing the limits of impasto oil painting. Many of Stern's works are reflected in Gratrix's pieces - compositionally, in their colouration and their subject matter - making both direct and indirect references to Stern's work.
In Gratrix's words, "all painting is a conversation with painting that has come before". Subverting the serious, value-driven discourse and scholarship that often surround Stern's legacy, Gratrix's playful dialogue thus confronts the common assumption that oil painting is deadly serious art.
The high reputation Irma Stern holds in the South African art canon has somewhat overshadowed Stern's love of experimentation. Sketch after sketch in the Irma Stern Trust Collection attests to an exploratory playfulness of Stern's sketches. Whilst art history tends to focus on the weighty tomes of her oil paintings, the preliminary studies that have seldom been shown suggest a commonality with Gratrix's own investigations into mark-making.
Irma Stern is celebrated as a major figure of South African art history and as a major collector of objects from around the world. In her residency, Gratrix aims to explore some of the iconic objects that form part of Stern's collection through a contemporary lens that reconsiders their place in the history of art.
As part of her residency at the UCT Irma Stern Museum, Georgina Gratrix will present a number of learner engagements as well as public conversations.
About Georgina Gratrixb. 1982, Mexico City, Mexico.
Lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.
Georgina Gratrix was born in Mexico City in 1982 and grew up in Durban, South Africa. She graduated from Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, in 2005, specialising in painting. In 2018, Gratrix was awarded the Discovery Prize at the 50th Anniversary edition of Art Brussels for her presentation with SMAC Gallery in Brussels, Belgium. Gratrix is a recipient of the Ampersand Fellowship Award and completed a residency at the Ampersand Foundation in New York City, USA, in 2018, as well as a residency in Oaxaca, Mexico, in association with a Centro de las Artes Augustín (CASA) culminating in a group exhibition entitled "Crossing Night" in the same year. In 2022, Gratrix was included in Phaidon's publication Prime: Art's Next Generation, featuring 107 emerging international artists worth watching.
In 2021, the Norval Foundation in Cape Town presented a major solo exhibition entitled "Georgina Gratrix: The Reunion", the artist's first museum exhibition. Further solo exhibitions include: THIS MUST BE THE PLACE, at the KwaZulu Natal Society of Arts in Durban, South Africa (2021); The Pleasure is Mine and Nine Weeks, at Nicodim Gallery in Los Angeles, USA (2020); On Repeat, at SMAC Gallery in Johannesburg (2018); Puppy Love, at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town, (2016); The Berlin Paintings at Die Tankstelle in association with Nolan Judin Gallery in Berlin, Germany (2013); My Show at SMAC Gallery in Stellenbosch (2012); and Everything Ecstatic, at Ten Haaf Projects in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 2010.
Recent group exhibitions include: Would you still love me if I painted parrots all day? curated by Annisa Touati and Marc-Olivier Wahler, at Dirimart, in Istanbul, Turkey; Punch, curated by Nina Chanel Abney, at Jeffrey Deitch Gallery in Los Angeles, USA; Skin Stealers at Nicodim Gallery in Los Angeles; and The Ampersand Foundation Award 21-years celebration exhibition curated by Gordon Froud at the University of Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) in Johannesburg, South Africa, all in 2019; Thinking, Feeling, Head, Heart at the New Church Museum in Cape Town, South Africa (2015); PAPERWORK: An Exhibition of Contemporary South African Works on Paper at SMAC Gallery in Stellenbosch (2014); The Beautyful Ones at Nolan Judin Gallery in Berlin, Germany (2013), and Dialogues with Masters: Visual Perspectives on Two Decades of Democracy, a curated exhibition for the 2013 FNB Joburg Art Fair; Subject as Matter at the New Church Museum; and PAINT 1: Contemporary South African Painting at SMAC Gallery, both in Cape Town, South Africa (2012). Her work was also included in 1910–2010: From Pierneef to Gugulective at the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa in 2010 and Fresh Fruits at Ten Haaf Projects in Amsterdam, the Netherlands in 2009.
In addition to her solo presentation at Art Brussels, Gratrix has presented solo booths at ARCO Lisboa (2022), The Armory Show in New York City (2020), artmonte-carlo in Monte Carlo, Monaco (2019), and Miart in Milan, Italy (2017). SMAC Gallery has produced two publications on the artist, Georgina Gratrix (2016) and Some New Paintings by Georgina Gratrix (2018).
In association with: Part of the 50 Years Irma Stern Museum programme