When she was awarded the 2018 Discovery Prize at Art Brussels, Belgium, the jury commended Georgina Gratrix for her "painterly take" on sculpture, and "sculptural approach to painting".1 This recent still life, a gift from the artist to a writer friend, bears out this approach. Gratrix’s expressionist paintings are defined by their richly articulated surfaces. The artist honed her style through successive solo exhibitions, starting in 2008 with Master Copy, a joyously flippant re-assessment of painting as a materialist practice bounded by pictorial conventions. But it was her 2012 solo exhibition My Show that marked a key technical breakthrough for the artist, in particular, the four-panel work Jungle (2012), which features crudely delineated floral and avian elements painted with industrial brushes. “With this move to large-scale materials the painting became more tactile and sculptural,” noted critic Matthew Partridge.2 This technical innovation has been matched by Gratrix’s mounting interest in floral subjects. As is her manner, this colour-drenched presentation of cut flowers is laconically described. While it is possible to discern a flamingo flower (anthurium) and ornamental pincushion in the arrangement, spontaneity and energised wonder – rather than classificatory exactness – are the defining hallmarks of Gratrix’s flamboyant still lifes.
1. 'Winner Discovery Prize', Art Brussels website, 19 April 2018: https://www.artbrussels.com/en/News/2018/DISCOVERY%20winner.
2. Matthew Partridge (2012) 'Different strokes for different folks', Mail & Guardian, 13 April 2012: https://mg.co.za/article/2012-04-13-different-strokes-for-folks.