KILMANY-JO LIVERSAGE (b. 1973) lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.
She creates portraits that sit at the blurry boundary between fine art and graffiti.
Adopting the graffiti or urban art language allows her to update, renew and challenge the conventions of painting, though her rendering of female subjects are inspired by Renaissance era portraiture. It also references digitised mass production and a futuristic post-human world, populated by perfect-looking female cyborgs. The result is a series of brightly coloured large-scale paintings, evoking the street, art history and the future.
Although Liversage has painted walls all over the world, including a large-scale mural at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013, she does not consider herself a street artist. Operating within the framework of ‘urban contemporary’, Liversage may have incorporated aspects of street art into her practice – considerable scale, a predilection for working outside and the custom of tagging – but she trained as a fine artist and painting is her committed pursuit. She is a dedicated fine art painter. She is faithful to Renaissance standards of portraiture, working within the established canon, taking into account the very same compositional considerations as da Vinci or Piero della Francesca. She makes modern-day Mona Lisas with intriguing eyes and full-lipped smiles. Her source material is skimmed from social media networks – real womxn looking the part that is expected of them.
BUT, she also grabs a spray can of luscious hot pink and tags right over Mona Lisa’s sweet smile. She breaks the mould, allowing for spontaneity of mark-making, for dripping and for glorious, generative chaos. She often moves from one source image to another, sometimes using up to four images to create a composite female face. She abandons a painting mid-creation, using the existing layers as a basis for another painting altogether. She is the anarchist who comes to mess with the process, revealing in her rebellion the truth of the matter – the uselessness and the peril, for womxn, of colouring within the patriarchal lines.
In Liversage’s work, the masculine Gaze, to which all feminine is subject within a patriarchal framework, is plain to see. However, revealed as self-portraits, the feminine, cast in the roles given to her by the Gaze, stares knowingly, ferociously, straight back.
By summoning the army within, Liversage takes up the mantle for all womxn.
- 1994 H.Dip Fine Arts. Free State Technikon. Received a distinction in Painting
- 1997 B.Tech Fine Arts, Free State Technikon
SPECIAL HONOURS & AWARDS
- 2000 SASOL New Signatures Art Competition (Best Painting)
- 2005 UNESCO Aschberg Bursary, Paris France
- 2013 Back 2 back to Biennale. 55th Venice Biennale
- 2018 SCOPE Art Show, Miami
- 2005 UNESCO Asch erg-Medellin, Colombia, South America
- 2005 Centro Colombo Americano. Paul Bardwell Contemporary Gallery of Modern Art – Medellin, Colombia
- 2005 University of Bolivariana, Department of Graphic Design, Colombia
- Nando’s collection
- Department of Science and Technology, Pretoria, South Africa
- Absa Bank Art Collection, South Africa
- Centro Colombo Americano. Paul Bardwell Contemporary Gallery of Modern Art – Medellin, South America
- Comfandi Centre-Cali, Colombia
- 2018 Chroma718. Everead Read Gallery, Johannesburg
- 2016 Orda716. Worldart, Cape Town
- 2016 Orda716. Lizamore & Associates
- 2015 Ordamental515. Hay Hill Gallery, London
- 2014 Obversa714. Worldart, Cape Town
- 2014 Obversa714. Lizamore & Associates
- 2012 Portra. Source 53, Singapore
- 2012 Portra. Artspace gallery, Johannesburg
- 2012 Portra. Worldart gallery, Cape Town
- 2011 Moniker. Worldart, Cape Town
- 2010 Orda 2010. Erdmann Contemporary
- 2009 Symbol of Tribute. Association for Visual Arts, Cape Town
- 2006 Orda 2006. Blank Projects
- 2003 Orda 2003. Association for Visual Arts, Cape Town
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
- 2011 Tattoo Convention, Word of Art, Woodstock, Cape Town
- 2010 Creative Context: A Group Show by Contemporary African Fine Artists. Singapore
- 2010 World Aids Congress – Vienna, Brussels
- 2010 Matters Conceptually, Erdmann Gallery, Cape Town
- 2005 Graffiti is Public Art, Jardin Botanical Garden, Medellin, Colombia
- 2004 Spier Outdoor Sculpture Biennale 2004, Stellenbosch, Cape Town