b. 1982, Mexico City, Mexico.
Lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.
Cape Town-based Georgina Gratrix is one of the most exciting and innovative young artists on the South African contemporary art scene. Part mocking, part criticism, part play, Gratrix’s work offers an inverted visual take on the world. Instilled with her youthful energy and personal experience, her work is refreshing, entertaining and complex.
Gratrix’s provocative paintings are heavily imbued with a fun aesthetic and a sense of deprecating laughter. Extending from the grandeur and sacrosanct icons of traditional art canons, contemporary pop-culture and the artist herself, no social hierarchies are absolved as subjects. A thick, almost obscenely excessive application of oil paint forms the layers of make-up and decoration on her subjects’ faces and bodies. Portraiture is a favoured genre and while Gratrix prefers painting, her other mediums range from drawing and printmaking to collage and assemblage.
Georgina Gratrix was born in Mexico City in 1982 and grew up in Durban, South Africa. She studied at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, and graduated in 2005, specialising in painting. In 2008, Gratrix presented her debut solo exhibition, Master Copy, in Cape Town, South Africa.
With numerous successful group and solo exhibitions both locally and internationally, Gratrix continues to garner impressive recognition. Her international solo debut, Everything Ecstatic, was held in 2010 at Ten Haaf Projects in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Gratrix presented My Show in 2012 at SMAC Gallery in Stellenbosch, which was followed, in 2013, by The Berlin Paintings at Die Tankstelle in association with Nolan Judin Gallery in Berlin, Germany. Her most recent solo exhibitions include: Puppy Love, at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town during 2016 and was accompanied by the self-titled publication, Georgina Gratrix; a solo presentation at the 2017 edition of MiArt Fair in Milan, Italy and a solo exhibition entitled On Repeat at SMAC gallery in Johannesburg.
Notable group exhibitions include: Thinking, Feeling, Head, Heart at the New Church Museum in Cape Town, South Africa in 2015; PAPERWORK: An Exhibition of Contemporary South African Works on Paper at SMAC Gallery in Stellenbosch in 2014; The Beautyful Ones at Nolan Judin Gallery in Berlin, Germany, in 2013 and Dialogues with Masters: Visual Perspectives on Two Decades of Democracy, a curated exhibition for the 2013 FNB Joburg Art Fair.
In 2013, Gratrix’s work formed part of Paddle 8: Curator’s Selection by Tania Pardo for ARCOmadrid International Contemporary Art Fair in Madrid, Spain. In 2012, Gratrix exhibited in Subject as Matter at the New Church Museum and in PAINT 1: Contemporary South African Painting at SMAC Gallery, both in Cape Town, South Africa. 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, Netherlands in 2009.
Gratrix is a featured artist in Ashraf Jamal’s recent Kira publication entitled In The World: Essays on Contemporary South African Art. In addition Gratrix recently participated in group exhibition presented by SMAC Gallery at the 2018 Investec Cape Town Art Fair at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) in Cape Town, South Africa. She was recently awarded the Discovery Prize at the 50th Anniversary edition of Art Brussels, for her presentation with SMAC Gallery in Brussels, Belgium. Gratrix is the most recent recipient of the Ampersand Fellowship Award, and will be artist-in-residence at the Ampersand Foundation in New York City during September 2018.
- Georgina Gratrix was recently awarded the Discovery Prize at the 50th Anniversary edition of Art Brussels, for her presentation with SMAC Gallery in Brussels, Belgium.
- Georgina Gratrix is the recent recipient of the Ampersand Fellowship Award, and was the artist-in-residence at the Ampersand Foundation in New York City, USA, in September 2018.
- Gratrix is currently partaking in the curatorial project, titled Crossing Night, in Oaxaca, Mexico, which entails a two month-long residency at the Centro de las Artes Augustín (CASA), culminating in an exhibition which opened on 4 November 2018 and will run until 5 February 2019.