ARCO LISBOA | 2022
19.05.22 - 22.05.22
Born in Mexico City, Mexico and raised on the East Coast of South Africa in Durban, Georgina Gratrix’s paintings should be considered as the extension, and indeed manifestation, of her scopic regime. If we understand the scopic regime as that which embodies the representative field outside of reality, or, in Gratrix’s instance, the images that come to exist on her canvases, then what we are presented with is a fantastical universe, where the visual is no longer hinged to the exterior world which we normally observe.
Thus, departing from the lush and itinerant geographies that inform the basis of her painterly perception, Gratrix’s work reveals an imaginary realm, where she grapples with the material nature of her chosen medium: oil paint. By acknowledging the fundamental characteristics of the medium’s density, opacity and corporality, Gratrix performs a transfiguration, whereby her subjects emerge from, and exist within, a wilderness of colour.
For this presentation Gratrix has constructed a world that is inhabited entirely by birds. Whilst some of Gratrix’s birds bear close visual reference to species that do exist, most merely adopt the tropes expected of the feathered creatures of the avian community. In this way, the birds’ bodies become a cypher for Gratrix’s insatiable curiosity. When combined with her technical explorations of stippling and aggregating her thickly applied impasto surfaces, this curiosity invites the viewer to participate in the spectacle of looking.
However, Gratrix does not rely on the purely visual to complete this spectacle. Instead, a humorous shadow exists at the corners of this unified field of vision, which tests the limits of visuality itself. The incorporation of text-based works, which huddle together within these assembled aviaries, signals the way in which language intermingles with the painted image, and thus has the capacity to shift our relationship to that which is purely seen.
TEXT BY MATTHEW PARTRIDGE