Now representing: Jozua Gerrard
Southern Guild is pleased to announce the representation of Jozua Gerrard. Born in 2001 in Cape Town, Gerrard made his debut with Loveland, a solo exhibition of large-scale enamel paintings on glass held at the gallery in 2021. He will have another solo presentation of his work in late 2022.
Gerrard’s work walks a line between existentialism and nihilism, touching on a range of themes including mental health, religion, sexual identity and contemporary, urban youth culture. He is influenced heavily by his personal experiences and is fascinated by ordinary life, often depicting scenes of the everyday in his work – which he refers to as “little windows into people’s existence”.
In contrast with the sense of disquiet in his paintings, his colours are vivid and intoxicating, creating a taught duality – a theme throughout Gerrard’s practice. His work is filled with contradictions: brash and ethereal, carnal and innocent, menacing and tender.
His bright, horned mask is a signature motif, conveying multiple symbolic meanings for the artist. He describes this mask as an attempt to reclaim the notion of ‘primitivism’ from colonialist appropriation by placing it in an everyday, contemporary context. The mask allows the wearer to skew or hide their identity, giving them the space to be more than one thing simultaneously.
“It’s like you’re saying ‘It’s me, but I’m still hiding’,” he explains, conceding that all the masked figures – both male and female – are projections of himself. This asserts Gerrard’s fluidity and his conscious moving away from restrictive labels often imposed on individuals, an entrenched societal inclination. The wearer becomes faceless, non-specific and emotionless, and in turn, gains access to a new reality: the one Gerrard creates. The mask is supernatural in this imaginary world, providing a protective shield for and against emotions, both external and internal.
Gerard’s debut solo exhibition, Loveland, at Southern Guild in August 2021 will be followed by a second show in September 2022. Previously, he has exhibited at WorldArt in Cape Town and the Turbine Art Fair in Johannesburg.