Grace Cross

Grace Cross (b. Zimbabwe 1988) graduated with a MFA at the University of Illinois in Chicago in 2016 and holds a BFA from the Michaelis School of Art for which she was awarded the Judy Steiner painting prize in 2010. Cross’ transglobal upbringing across continents informs her material painting, video and fibre practice. She enacts symbols about home, belief structures and land; making shifting recipe’s rooted in history, performative archaeology and African cosmology to reflect her cultural transmission across national boundaries. Drawing images through fibre and paint, that have been excavated in part from the past, she creates a present generative site. Her work conjures a deep history, bringing transformative cultural wisdoms and materials together to excavate and perforate the power of the symbol. Cross is a grant recipient from the University of Illinois in Chicago and the National Arts Council, South Africa. Cross is part of the feminist artist collective the Femme Gems and of the Chicago-based greenhouse art ecology project Uptool. Cross lives and works in Cape Town.

“My painting seek to represent a cosmological world, where the ground, made of woven fibre, becomes the landscape my paint adheres to. The substrate and the content cannot be separated because of their symbolic nature. I work with pictures that are so full and so extensive that it is impossible to take a step backwards, screw up one’s eyes, and enjoy the whole. I want to get people to move not just their eyes but also their whole person along and around the picture plain as if they were reading a map or playing a game.”

Education
2016 MFA, Studio Arts, School of Art and Art History, University of Illinois, Chicago
2012 BAHons, English Language and Literature Honours, University of Cape Town
2011 Post-Grad Business Diploma, Business Acumen for Artists, Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town
2010 BFA, Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town

Solo Exhibitions
2017 The Meal Is Not The Menu, SMITH, Cape Town
2015 Pleasuring Ground, SMITH, Cape Town

Group Exhibitions
2017 Ellerman House, Art Angels auction, Cape Town
2017 Dear History: It’s Not Me, It’s You (LKB/G, Hamburg, 2017)
2016 Ellerman House, Art Angels auction, Cape Town
2016 Exile Inside Out, Heaven Gallery, Chicago
2016 Hot House, 2nd Floor Rear Festival, Chicago, curated by myself and Aaron
2016 Walker, an Uptool project.
2016 Stovetop H/earth, Hairpin Art Center, Chicago, curated by Jesus Javier, part of the 2nd Floor Rear Festival
2016 Sketch, SMITH, Cape Town, curated by Amy Ellenbogen
2015 Another Antipodes, PS Art Space, Perth
2015 Not from Here, 70 Juta Street, Johannesburg
2015 Current, SMITH, Cape Town, curated by Amy Ellenbogen
2014 Bugatti Dreams Park Free, University of Illinois at Chicago
2013 Cube-Route: Beggin’ for Change, an Open Drawer Projects project
2012 {Impression : Sunset}, Salon91, Cape Town, curated by Monique du Preez
2012 Fire Horizon, AfrikaBurn Festival, Tankwa Karoo, an Open Drawer Projects project
2011 Part 1: The Drawing Room, Spin Space Gallery, Cape Town
2010 To Intervene in the Forest of Signs, Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town
2010 One Night Affair, A Word of Art Gallery, Cape Town

Art fairs
2018 Investec Cape Town Art Fair
2016 Cave Canem, Solo Special Projects, SMITH, FNB Art Fair, Johannesburg
2014 Cape Town Art Fair, SMITH, Cape Town

AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS
2015 Grant from Office of Sustainability, University of Illinois at Chicago, for Uptool project
2014-5 Board of Trustees Fee Waiver, University of Illinois at Chicago
2013 Visual Art grant from National Arts Council South Africa for ‘Cube-Route an Open Drawer Projects
2010 Co-awarded the Judy Steiner Painting Prize, Michaelis School of Fine Art
2010 Mentor Program at Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town
2007-10 Dean’s Merit List, University of Cape Town
2007 Golden Key Member, University of Cape Town