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. She is also 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 paintings 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.” - Grace Cross