Southern Guild returns to Miami Art Week this year with presentations at both Design Miami and Untitled Art.
The gallery’s booth for Design Miami features functional and sculptural work by 11 designers and artists from across the continent, bringing together a collection of richly handcrafted objects in which nature’s presence is unleashed in a profusion of diverse forms. For Untitled Art, Southern Guild presents the work of three emerging artists: South African painters Jozua Gerrard and Katlego Tlabela, and Zimbabwean ceramic artist Xanthe Somers. Varied in style and conceptual interests, this trio of artists represent unique contemporary perspectives from the African continent who engage with their political, social and cultural contexts in diverging ways.
This double showing comes just two months before Southern Guild launches its first gallery in the United States. The opening of the 5,000 sqft space on Western Avenue in the new art hub of Melrose Hill, Los Angeles, marks a milestone moment for the South African gallery whose artist roster, gallery programme and fair participation have expanded significantly over the past few years.
SOUTHERN GUILD AT DESIGN MIAMI 2023
5-10 December, 2023
Southern Guild returns to Design Miami in 2023 with a presentation of functional and sculptural work by 11 designers and artists including Zizipho Poswa, Porky Hefer, Andile Dyalvane and Rich Mnisi Design Miami takes place 5-10 December at Convention Center Drive and 19th Street in Miami Beach.
Southern Guild’s presentation at Design Miami – where it has exhibited regularly since 2011 – comes just two months before it launches its first gallery in the United States. The opening of the 5,000 sqft space on Western Avenue in the new art hub of Melrose Hill, just along the road from David Zwirner’s new LA outpost, marks a milestone moment for the South African gallery, whose artist roster, gallery programme and fair participation have expanded significantly over the past few years.
The gallery’s booth brings together a collection of richly handcrafted objects in which nature’s presence is unleashed in a profusion of forms that twist, morph and grow before our eyes. With an emphasis on three-dimensionality, these works encompass moments of play and quiet reflection, escape and wild release – perhaps best exemplified by the sinuous duality of a snake painted in pastel hues onto Dokter and Misses’ Hug Me Like a Python, LALA Limo Series server.
Highlights of Southern Guild’s presentation this year include:
A pair of seating pods by Porky Hefer, made especially for Design Miami, signalling a turn towards minimalist form by the internationally renowned designer. His collections of sculptural seating environments are speculative interventions that take their cue from nature’s unerring adaptability, resourcefulness and interconnection. Encased in hand-stitched leather, John and Yoko represent a lion and a dove, respectively. With their plush, wool-lined interiors, these works are an ode to the bed-ins of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Hefer will have a solo exhibition at Galerie56 in New York in May 2024.
Two pieces of collectible furniture by Rich Mnisi, drawing on his XiTsonga heritage and fluid approach to form. A desk with beaded curtain and a twisting chandelier with scale-like shades – both bronze – develop the snake-inspired design language of Mnisi’s 2021 Nyoka collection. The bold three-dimensionality of his work encourages multiple viewpoints -– an apt embodiment of Mnisi’s commitment to queer expression. His second solo exhibition opens at Southern Guild’s Cape Town gallery in February 2024.
Three large-scale bronze sculptures by Zizipho Poswa inspired by the practice of ‘umthwalo’ (load), whereby Xhosa women transport heavy items on their heads, often walking long distances in rural areas. Part of the artist’s iiNtsika zeSizwe (Pillars of the Nation) exhibition at Galerie56 in New York earlier this year, these works are named after specific women within the artist’s extended community. This past summer, Poswa produced her most monumental ceramic series to date as an artist-in-residence at the Center for Contemporary Ceramics, California State University, Long Beach, which will debut when Southern Guild opens its Los Angeles gallery in February 2024.
Kenyan artist Stanislaw Trzebinski’s S-shaped bronze table and series of otherworldly lights and vessels are an imagining of the metamorphosed creatures that arise on Earth after climate devastation. A trio of standing lights seemingly unfurl from the earth, each of their bronze tendrils holding a hand-blown glass bulb, mottled in bacteria-like dispersions of green and blue. These fantastical works make use of organic forms and tinted patinas in vivid hues.
A large-scale ceramic seat by Andile Dyalvane will feature on the booth and is a piece from his ground-breaking collection, iThongo (Ancestral Dreamscape). This refers to the medium through which messages are transmitted from his Xhosa ancestors, a vital current of energy that runs throughout Dyalvane’s artistic practice. Hand-coiled in terracotta clay, the seats were conceived to be used in ceremonial and spiritual gatherings, arranged in a circle around a fire hearth and herbal offerings.
Other notable works on the booth will be an intricate bronze wall-hung sculpture by Cape Town-based designer Jesse Ede, ceramics by Franco-Beninese artist King Houndekpinkou, hand-carved sculptural timber seats by arborist Adam Birch, a mythological bronze figure by Justine Mahoney, a botanical-inspired table by Charles Haupt and the above-mentioned python-emblazoned server by Dokter and Misses.
Both ceramic artist Andile Dyalvane and Southern Guild co-founder Trevyn McGowan will take part in the Design Miami/ Talks Program this year. McGowan is included in the panel discussion titled ‘The Story of Us’ which will focus on female design voices on the pleasures—and power— of rising together.
This takes place on Wednesday, December 6, 2023, from 5:30PM – 6:30PM ET. Dyalvane will participate in ‘Healing Through Design’ on Friday, December 8, 2-3pm ET. Both talks will take place in the Design Miami/ Talks Theater.
Dokter and Misses, ‘LALAL imo Hug Me Like a Python’, 2023. Photographed by Hayden Phipps & Southern Guild.
Jesse Ede, ‘Solaris’, 2023. Cr. Hayden Phipps, Southern Guild.
SOUTHERN GUILD AT UNTITLED ART 2023
5-10 December, 2023
Southern Guild returns to Untitled Art in 2023 with a focus on three young artists: South African painters Jozua Gerrard and Katlego Tlabela, and Zimbabwean ceramic artist Xanthe Somers. Untitled Art takes place from 5-10 December at Ocean Drive and 12th Street, in Miami Beach, Florida.
Diverse in style and conceptual interests, the three Southern Guild artists represent unique viewpoints from the African continent who engage with their political, social and cultural contexts in different ways. They share a pop-infused formal approach that harnesses elements of fantasy and play, undergirded by a sense of dissonance. Gerrard’s lone figures hint at a listless malaise, while Tlabela responds to persisting economic inequality with bolstered fantasies of self-determination. In contrast, Somers’ sculptural vessels are barbed critiques of corruption and consumption.
Southern Guild’s presentation at Untitled Art – its second year exhibiting – comes just two months before it launches its first gallery in the United States. The opening of the 5,000 sqft space on Western Avenue in Melrose Hill marks a milestone moment for the South African gallery, whose artist roster, gallery programme and fair participation have expanded significantly over the past few years.
Xanthe Somers’ large-scale, intricate ceramic works combine political commentary and hyper-ornamentation to draw attention to Western overconsumption, cheap labour and the impact of eco-racist practices on the Global South. Born in Harare in 1992 and now based in London, Somers focuses on ceramics to reimagine the everyday and examine the “subtle treason of objects”.
The bodies of her classically-shaped vessels are punctured with peepholes, encrusted with woolly tassels and interlaced with woven elements such as string and garden hose. Somers studied Fine Art (Hons) at the University of Cape Town and completed an MA in Postcolonial Culture and Global Policy at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2020. She has held solo exhibitions at Galerie Revel in Bordeaux, France, First Floor Gallery Harare in Zimbabwe and Fusion Art Gallery in Turin, Italy, and has exhibited at fairs including Collect Art Fair in London and Untitled Art in Miami, where Southern Guild first presented her work in 2022.
Jozua Gerrard’s large-scale, enamel-on-glass paintings explore his personal experience of contemporary youth culture: its connections and disconnections, utopian projections and ever-present shadows. Born in Cape Town in 2001, his fascination with the everyday is central to his works, which he describes as “little windows into people’s existence”. Painting his friends, partners and peers, Gerrard portrays scenes of intimacy and isolation – lone figures in candid moments of repose, the outside world receding in large expanses of flat, discordant colour.
His subjects appear to have let their guard down but connection with the viewer is thwarted by the ever-present red mask they wear. Referencing the horned African masks traditional to West Africa, the appendage is a signature motif that the artist describes as an attempt to reclaim the notion of ‘primitivism’ from colonialist appropriation. The artist has held two solo exhibitions, including Loveland at Southern Guild in 2021. The gallery presented Gerrard’s work at Untitled Art last year.
The paintings of Pretoria-based artist Katlego Tlabela explore notions of luxury, leisure and the world of the “nouveau riche” as they appear in contemporary South African society. The artist’s multi-panelled tableaux are self-referential, often depicting himself in highly stylised domestic spaces that offer a lens into the lives of the newly imagined and real Black elite. Tlabela’s construction of these worlds is decidedly postmodern; he splices together references from popular culture, recognisable local and international brands, cut-out figures from magazines, reappropriated texts, renowned art and design.
The series of paintings made for Untitled Art make recurring reference to swimming pools, that ultimate middle-class status symbol, here a signifier of Black wealth. His work was recently included in When We See Us: A Century of Black Figuration in Painting at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, and he has participated in group shows in Lagos, London and New York. His work has been presented at fairs such as Frieze London, FIAC, 1-54 London and New York, and Liste Art Fair Basel.
Katlego Tlabela’s Blue Magic V, Late for a Date III, 2023 photographed by Hayden Phipps & Southern Guild.
Katlego Tlabela’s Blue Magic IV, Late For A Date II, 2023 photographed by Hayden Phipps & Southern Guild.
During the fair, Southern Guild’s director Jana Terblanche will be part of a podcast panel discussion titled ‘Curating in the Digital Age’. The focus will be on how curatorial practices are evolving in the ever-expansion of new technologies, as well as visual experimentation with digitalisation and new viewing experience.
Press release courtesy of Southern Guild