Contemporary Art

Gerhard Marx is a South African artist born in 1976.  He completed his master's degree in Fine Arts cum laude at the University of Cape Town in 2004. He currently teaches at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

His works call to mind mounting tensions within South Africa in relation to the land – the pain of dispossession, rage due to the slow pace of redistribution, anxiety around the threat of violent land grabs.

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Jessica Webster (b. 1981, South Africa) is a conceptual painter whose work is complex in range of theme and materiality. Webster’s philosophical approach to painting originated in her PhD in Philosophy (Wits, 2017). 

Webster has pursued ideas about traumatic memory and the human predicament for sense-making as having a defamiliarizing effect on the almost mundane visual realities of daily experience.

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Nicholas Hlobo was born in Cape Town, South Africa. Nicholas Hlobo received a fine-art degree from the Technikon Witwatersrand (2002). He lives and works in Johannesburg.

His works on paper, sculptures, installations, and performances utilize rubber, ribbon, leather, and a variety of domestic objects to explore both his identity as a gay Xhosa man and issues of masculinity, sexuality, and ethnicity in South African culture.

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Gerhard Marx

Transparent Territory

  •  Subject Matter: Land tensions within South Africa

  • Key Words: Violence against the institutions and processes of global modernity;  Stitching Fragments; Land division.

  • Formal Qualities: Maps’ rectangular form has been sent into a series of optical riddles or Escherian landscapes. A shifting network of inherited lines, “found lines” divide the land into territory, domain and jurisdiction.

  • Medium/ Method of Production: Reconfigured Map fragments on Acrylic-Polyurethane Ground and Canvas (South African map& fragments of Europe)

Landscape Study,2018
Landscape Study,2018

Reconfigured Map Fragments on Acrylic-Polyurethane Ground and Canvas 140 x 180cm

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Landscape Study,2018
Landscape Study,2018

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Plot, 2017
Plot, 2017

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Landscape Study,2018
Landscape Study,2018

Reconfigured Map Fragments on Acrylic-Polyurethane Ground and Canvas 140 x 180cm

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Garden Carpet

  •  Subject Matter: A representation of a city in which the idyllic and the wilderness, development and collapse, co-exist. 

  • Key Words: Idyllic and wild, earthly utopia

  • Formal Qualities: Roots and weeds are used to draw text-less road maps of Johannesburg. selected for “line quality”, organic line-work, romantic aesthetic of the ruin

  • Medium/ Method of Production: Plant material, tissue paper with acrylic ground on canvas board. The technique in which Garden carpet for Johannesburg was ‘drawn’ is one that was developed with reference to the manner in which plants are preserved in herbariums. In this case plant material is collected from interstitial spaces around Johannesburg.

Garden Carpet, Johannesburg [1], 2013
Garden Carpet, Johannesburg [1], 2013

Plant material, tissue paper with acrylic ground on canvass board 120x180cm

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Garden Carpet, Johannesburg, 2013
Garden Carpet, Johannesburg, 2013

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Garden Carpet, Johannesburg [3], 2013
Garden Carpet, Johannesburg [3], 2013

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Garden Carpet, Johannesburg [1], 2013
Garden Carpet, Johannesburg [1], 2013

Plant material, tissue paper with acrylic ground on canvass board 120x180cm

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Jessica Webster

 

Wisteria / 2017

​The title of the exhibition refers to the non-indigenous garden flower often planted along boundary walls and garden gates in South Africa as a borrowed expression of beauty from the European garden. 

  •  Subject Matter: Personal and critical reflections on the category ‘white woman’ as the term manifests in a South African context.

  • Key Words: Critical self-engagement, White woman stereotype, vulnerability and threat, Politicised South African garden

  • Formal Qualities: The material handling of the paint and the palimpsestic approach to photography and painting create a sense both of vulnerability and threat.

  • Medium/ Method of Production:  In the paintings on show, she begins with found photographs that capture generic South African suburban scenes, such as pools and lawns, and paints similar imagery over them using oil paint and wax – so that painting and photograph often seem to flow into each other. Applied very thickly in areas while scraped away in others, the painted imagery becomes abstract, pointing to the highly constructed nature of the white woman stereotype.

Where to my lovely (40 pieces), 2017
Where to my lovely (40 pieces), 2017

Wax and oil on canvas 13 4/5 × 17 7/10 in

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Where to my lovely (40 pieces), 2017
Where to my lovely (40 pieces), 2017

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Untitled: Amelia (I & II) - diptych
Untitled: Amelia (I & II) - diptych

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Where to my lovely (40 pieces), 2017
Where to my lovely (40 pieces), 2017

Wax and oil on canvas 13 4/5 × 17 7/10 in

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Nicholas Hlobo

Jong’ emva rhamncwa ndini, 2017

Hlobo probes his own reality as a post-apartheid artist, reflecting his identity as a gay black man with Xhosa ethnicity.

  •  Subject Matter: His own identity, an apprehension of qualities that exist outside of codifying labels of gender, sexuality, and ethnicity.

  • Key Words: Metaphoric materials, Xhosa ethnicity, Weaving and stitching, Gender identities

  • Formal Qualities: Subtly and subversively weaving together bodily innuendos and historical references, Hlobo uses raw materials to represent female and male forms and question gender roles.

  • Medium/ Method of Production:  Painted leather, wood, ribbon, steel, adjustable papier mâché mannequin, skull, and horns

Jong' emva rhamncwa ndini, 2017
Jong' emva rhamncwa ndini, 2017

Painted leather, wood, ribbon, steel, adjustable papier mâché mannequin, skull, and horns 50.39 x 77.17 x 83.46 inches

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Jong' emva rhamncwa ndini, 2017
Jong' emva rhamncwa ndini, 2017

Painted leather, wood, ribbon, steel, adjustable papier mâché mannequin, skull, and horns 50.39 x 77.17 x 83.46 inches

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Isisele, 2010

  •  Subject Matter: The title, which translates to “clothes [or blanket] of the nation,” refers to the Xhosa ritual wherein cowhide is used to cover a corpse before burial for its protection upon entering the afterlife. Hlobo’s creature has been seen to represent both its own transformation from raw materials into form, and the potential for Africa’s transformation.

  • Key Words: Africa's transformation, Material combinations, Ethnicity, masculinity, and sexual identity

  • Formal Qualities: Subtly and subversively weaving together bodily innuendos and historical references, Hlobo uses raw materials to represent female and male forms and question gender roles.

  • Medium/ Method of Production:  Ribbon, pieces of leather and the rubber inner tubes of car wheels.

Isisele, 2010
Isisele, 2010

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Isisele, 2010
Isisele, 2010

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Isisele, 2010
Isisele, 2010

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Cross-Analysis

Reconfiguration, Hard edge, Stitching Fragments

Violence against global modernity, Land tension within South Africa

Form

Subject Matter

Line

City contradiction

Paint, Palimpsestic photography, Abstract figure, Flowing, Layered

Critical self-engagement, White woman stereotype in South Africa context, vulnerability and threat

Form

Subject Matter

Metaphoric materials, StitchingLayered

Self identity, Xhosa ethnicity, Gender identities, the experience of life in post-Apartheid South Africa

Form

Subject Matter