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GEENA WILKINSON (b.1994)
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Geena Wilkinson’s work is an exploration of the banal through domesticity, making use of various traditional fine-art mediums, often with food as the subject, as a way of highlighting temporality. Her works function as still-lives, speaking to the passing of time and making an attempt to preserve the social space that encompasses them. She draws from the nostalgia embedded within memory, breaking up the perceived linear projection of the past and entering the void between utopia and reality. Her work is a means of documenting that which is often perceived to be outside of the history – but is constructed through the archive, and yet is central to everyday life.
There is a pervasive absence surrounding her archive of still-lives. Picnic spreads are laid out a little too neatly, emitting an eerie tension as they beg not to be disturbed, in Jana Terblanche’s words they are, ‘sweets that you can’t eat, lips that you can’t touch’. Terblanche elaborates on this, ‘This playful negation of our primary desire for art to be pleasing provokes where it might placate. It reminds us as viewers that art is not there simply to give us what we want.’ (2019).
Geena Wilkinson was born in 1994 in Cape Town, South Africa, where she currently lives and works. In 2016, she graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Art Degree from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, at the University of Cape Town, RSA. In 2019, Wilkinson returned to UCT as an Andrew W. Mellon Scholar to complete an Honours in Curatorship at the Centre for Curating the Archive, where she graduated with a first class pass and was awarded membership to the Golden Key International Honour Society.
Recent group exhibitions include the Investec Cape Town Art Fair, with Worldart Gallery, in Cape Town; Death Row Dinner at THEFOURTH, in Cape town, both in 2022; Feeling Things with Rust-en-Vrede Gallery at the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, in South Africa, in 2021; THE SPECTACLE at The Fourth, in Cape Town; Shaping Things: An exploration of clay and ceramics in contemporary South African art practice, at SMAC Gallery, in Stellenbosch; Ocular at 131A Gallery, in Cape Town, all in 2020; and Bad Taste: Image in Crisis at SMITH Studio, Cape Town, in 2019.
In 2018, she presented her first solo exhibition at 99 Loop Gallery in Cape Town, entitled Head First, and in 2021, she presented her first solo exhibition with Worldart Gallery, entitled bellyache. Notably in 2015, she was selected as a top 100 finalist for the Sanlam Portrait Award.
In 2022, Wilkinson will be participating in the Turbine Art Fair, in a group presentation with Worldart Gallery, in Johannesburg; as well as presenting a solo exhibition with Worldart Gallery; and a solo exhibition at the Boschendal Manor House, as a part of their new project in collaboration with the Norval Foundation.