#insight | Art World





Artist of the week


Georgina Gratrix, Friends and Friends of Friends, 2023
Georgina Gratrix, Friends and Friends of Friends, 2023



Today’s #MACFOCUS is on South African artist Georgina Gratrix, born in 1982 in Mexico City and soon relocated to Durban – a city on the east coast of South Africa, in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. One of the most innovative and appreciated artists of the contemporary South African art scene, Gratrix is internationally known for her vibrant use of colour together with her signature impasto technique where layers of oil paint are applied by brush, palette knife or straight from the tube.


Her first exhibition in Italy at Monica De Cardenas’ gallery includes portraiture, landscape, and still-life painting. Gratrix departs from these art historical genres by subverting the seriousness of her subject matter, instead choosing to pursue a “state of perpetual incandescence”. Her studies of flowers are theatrically composed, overflowing from their shimmering surfaces with bold lines that create balance and harmony; her studies of people are subjective responses to her characters, exploring the spectacle of mediated images.



Georgina Gratrix has had solo exhibitions in major museums and galleries throughout South Africa as well as in Berlin and Amsterdam. Her works have been acquired by well-known private collections such as the Norval Foundation, the Missoni Collection and the Peres Art Museum, Miami. She recently participated in international group shows (Seoul, Istanbul, Los Angeles).


In 2021 in Cape Town, where she lives and works, the Norval Foundation dedicated a survey exhibition to her presenting work from the past decade. Her solo exhibition The Cult of Ugliness at the Irma Stern Museum lasted until 25 February 2023. On display was a broad range of works from Gratrix’s archive, as well as new paintings produced during her residency at the museum and research space. Opened 50 years ago in memory of Irma Stern (1894-1966): an artist much loved by Gratrix and world-renowned avant-garde painter, sculptor, ceramist, as well as a feminist who influenced contemporary South African art.

In the images above:

Georgina Gratrix, Cruise Buffet Bouquet, 2022

Georgina Gratrix, Hallelujah Bird, 2022

Georgina Gratrix, The Friendliest Ghost III, 2022

Georgina Gratrix, Flesh Flowers, 2022

Georgina Gratrix, The Friendliest Ghost II, 2022

Georgina Gratrix, Never Be Alon Again, 2022

Georgina Gratrix, Misuzulu Zulu, 2022

Portrait of Georgina Gratrix, ph. Matthew Patridge


#MACFOCUS is the column of the Milano Art Community offering insights on the most interesting contemporary art galleries, foundations, and nonprofit spaces in Milan and on the work of their artists.




For more info Monica De Cardenas



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