Having hosted his first U.S. solo exhibition in Savannah in 2007, the SCAD exhibitions department is pleased to present Nicholas Hlobo in Paintings, a solo exhibition at Galerie Pfriem at SCAD Lacoste
, France. Paintings, a compilation of new works on canvas, discards notions of traditional painting techniques and presents canvases that have been slashed then delicately stitched with distinct materials such as satin, rubber, gauze and leather. Hlobos richly layered, tactile works are anchored in the post-‐Apartheid South African culture the artist was raised in, and reflect on larger human issues such as language, gender, sexuality, race and communication.
Described by the artist as both landscapes and skin, the surfaces of Hlobos works are scarred with complex pathways and pockets of stitched and swollen embroidered details on the cusp of explosion. His sculptural marks literally spill out of the canvas and conjure organic forms reminiscent of neural pathways and internal organs, alluding to hidden spaces just underneath the surface.
The mark making techniques that Hlobo utilizes, such as stitching and weaving with thread and brightly colored satin, are emblematic of femininity and traditionally female work such as sewing; however, his choice of other materials including tire rubber and leather alludes to masculinity, and industrial work. Through his deft combination of materials, Hlobo challenges gender-‐based assumptions regarding divisions of labor and introduces a more contemporary view of sexuality, a theme that is further highlighted through the use of suggestive forms.
Inspired by his South African heritage, Hlobos work is always titled in Xhosa, a Nguni language widely spoken in South Africa. Attracted to the languages formal grammatical qualities, linguistic flexibility and rhythm, Hlobos use of the Xhosa is not only an effort to define himself, but also a personal way to express his feelings about difficult truths and complex social issues and to encourage dialogue about them. One of the new works in the exhibition, Icephe ifolokhwe ne bhoso yi five Pounds ten, isitulo samaNgesi sihlal' iBhulukazi ..., which translates to A spoon, a fork and a knife is £5.10, on an English chair now sits an Afrikaner woman, draws its title from a popular childrens game in eastern Cape Town, where Hlobo was born and spent his childhood.
Nicholas Hlobo was born in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1975 and currently lives and works in Johannesburg. After graduating from the Wits Technikon in 2002, Hlobo went on to become the 2009 Standard Bank Young Artist with a solo exhibition that toured South Africa. In 2007, SCAD hosted Hlobo's first U.S. solo exhibition, Idioms, in Savannah, and in 2010 included his work in the exhibition Wild is the Wind as part of the Africa on My Mind exhibition series. In 2008, Hlobo was featured in a solo show at the Tate Modern and was part of the Momentum series of emerging artists at the ICA Boston; he has also been included in groups shows at The Havana Biennal (2009), the third Guangzhou Triennial, China (2008), and Flow at The Studio Museum in Harlem (2008), among others. This year, Hlobo was selected for the 2010 Liverpool Biennial and has been nominated for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Art Initiative.
Paintings will be on view at Galerie Pfriem at SCAD Lacoste, France, from July 3-‐Aug. 28, 2010.