ORDA716 by Kilmany-Jo Liversage
Having carved out a unique style of art-making that sits at the increasingly blurry boundary between fine art and graffiti, Kilmany-Jo Liversage’s new solo exhibition consists of portraits that continue in this vein, while further exploiting urban influences. In particular this new series of 25 paintings are marked by the depiction of building scaffolding, which forms the backdrop and basis for her mostly female portraits. This enhances her reference to the urban landscape, evoking billboards and construction sites but also on metaphorical and literal levels addresses the manner in which Liversage is interested in the (re)construction of images and the self. Her portraiture is defined by the seemingly contradictory process of constructing and deconstructing images. This latter quality is enabled by the spontaneous, ‘loud’ neon lines and disruptive graffiti gestures that mimic the way in which street artists enact rebellions and state their identity and positions in the public arena.
Liversage adopts the spray-paint medium, tagging and other graffiti conventions, blurring the lines between the painted canvas and the urban landscape. Her interest in street art evolved following a residency and series of workshops in Colombia at the universities of Antioqiua and Bolivariana in 2005. Adopting the graffiti or urban art language allowed her to update, renew and challenge the conventions of painting, though her rendering of female subjects are inspired by Renaissance era portraiture.
Her new solo exhibition, Orda716, refers to her street-name ‘Orda’ and the month and year of the exhibition. It also references digitised mass production and a futuristic post-human world, populated by perfect-looking female cyborgs, as depicted in her portraits. The result is a series of brightly coloured large-scale paintings, evoking the street, art history and the future. This bold collection will show at the Worldart gallery in Cape Town (from July 7) and Lizamore & Associates gallery in Joburg from June 30. Both exhibitions will run until the end of July.
Liversage’s distinctive futuristic-pop painting is familiar to most local art-world observers and is starting to attract international attention; she was singled out by The Financial Times last year and will show at the Moniker Art Fair in London in October.