It’s hard to believe that it is already time for the Smith to present their next exhibition, but it is! After the great success of Kurt Pio’s exhibition, we are waiting excitedly for this evening’s opening of Pleasuring Ground, the first solo exhibition by Zimbabwean born, Chicago based artist Grace Cross.

We are promised great things; that the artist will ‘offer us glimpses into a subliminal fragmented territory of her own making.’ Although this may seem terrifying to some, in the case of Ms Cross we have it on good authority that you should prepare to be entertained.

I like to think of myself as a painting archaeologist excavating images of the past in the present to imagine a future-story.

Cross writes, “Through the physical action of painting or felting animal fibre, I understand and rework artifacts of the past, through my present engagement with them. There is reciprocity between the slipperiness of my paint and felt, both carry sister characteristics of texture, colour, and body-presence, and both have the ability to embody and obfuscate what they depict simultaneously. This slipperiness stitches symbols to one another, like the pre-lingual space between breath and word. I use these ambiguous materials to embody myths performed by fractured cultures, played out on a subliminal stage.”

For those well-versed in artistic parlance, a quote from the curator Amy Ellenbogan,

“In Cross’s vivid and unsettling paintings and felt pieces, she gathers personal and historic symbols together to create immersive environments. Like the setting of a stage or the preparation for a ritual, ordered to reveal only part of a story, she creates environments that have an unsystematizable viewing experience. Cross’s visual language of myth joins together disparate cultures and traditions within her painted narratives. Through the flesh of her paint, the unborn, living, dead, and hybrid creatures intermingle with the ordinary. Violence and birth are synonymous examples of life on the canvas; a severed baby floats in space, a bird’s beak pries open a pregnant egg, a masticated meal is gobbled by a wound-like mouth.

Cross makes highly subjective work consisting of depicted artifacts that recur as symbolic leitmotifs throughout. She tells stories of human experience through imagery excavated from the past, seeking to reveal the contradictory realities of the present. In the increasingly chaotic global world, her practice represents its’ fractures. Embedding her work with a sense of playful heritage, spawned identities, and humorous metamorphoses, Cross situates us within her wondrous discordant Eden.”

SMITH is open Tuesday – Friday 9am – 5pm
Saturday – 10am-3pm
Monday and Sunday – closed 

SMITH, 56 Church Street, Cape Town,

Contact: Amy Ellenbogen
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