After five successive solo presentations, Stevenson takes a new approach for Frieze New York in 2017. The gallery's booth will feature new work by five southern African painters who are largely unknown to a New York audience, and who span three generations.
Mmakgabo Helen Sebidi (b. 1943) is the oldest of the quintet. After a career that has largely taken place outside the theatre of 'contemporary' art, her inclusion in the São Paulo biennial and interview in Contemporary And with upcoming Berlin Biennale curator Gabi Ngcobo have put her work in front of an entirely new audience.
On the other end of the generational spectrum, born in 1982 and 1986 respectively, Zander Blom and Mawande Ka Zenzile are young painters with a growing reputation in South Africa. Blom’s work experiments with form, his mediations on the potential of abstraction in contemporary painting has resulted in his being awarded the third Jean-François Prat Prize for contemporary art in Paris. He is also included in Phaidon’s latest anthology of contemporary painting, Vitamin P3: New Perspectives in Painting.
Ka Zenzile presents a keenly cerebral practice, combining materials such as cow dung and earth with motifs from popular culture, esoteric writings and Western art history to form layered, intertextual images.
Portia Zvavahera, born in 1985 in Zimbabwe, makes a return to Frieze New York after a successful 2015 solo presentation at the fair. Zvavahera combines exuberant gestural painting with areas of finely detailed mono-printing in depictions of spiritual and emotional topographies.
Deborah Poynton (b. 1970) was the subject of a career survey of 25 years of painting at Cape Town's New Church Museum in 2014. Happily out of sync with prevailing trends, Poynton has consistently made paintings that resist the comfortable consensus of contemporary art.
This presentation is informed by a gallery exhibition to be held in March 2017 titled A Painting Today. Juxtaposing the work and practices of artists both established and emerging, hailing from disparate locales and dealing with the medium from polar perspectives, the exhibition facilitates a conversation on radical ways of engaging with painting.
At Frieze New York, by featuring one painting from each artist, the booth will present varied, sometimes jarringly different practices with simplicity and clarity. Foregrounding lesser known painters from our program, the booth is a testament to our belief in Frieze New York as a place of discovery.