Lisa Howie 2015-05-23 04:16:19
THE ARTISTIC EXPERIENCE IN BERMUDA IS AS STRONG TODAY AS IT EVER WAS, AND IT DOESN’T SEEM TO LOSE ITS CHARM, GAINING NEW ADMIRERS EVERY DAY. Bermuda has a long-standing tradition of artists working in watercolour and acrylic paints to capture the island’s majestic scenery. Landscape painting is a dominant genre that one will find in the galleries selling art, which makes sense, as the artwork is very fine and our guests want to take a piece of the island home. What is lesser known is Bermuda’s burgeoning contemporary art scene. For such a small population of working artists, it is remarkable that there are so many innovative and new voices of artistic expression. For the Bermuda National Gallery’s 2014 iteration of the Bermuda Biennial, we introduced a theme: A View from the Edge. In this, we challenged artists to consider how geographical location informs identity. One artist, John Gardner, opted to work in collaboration with a poet and a dancer to create an interactive sculpture that literally spoke to the mythological aspect of our Bermuda “Triangle” location. When installed, viewers could dapple the water within the triangular structure, adding a layer of unpredictability. Ami Zanders chose to work in textile and mixed media with coloured circles of yarn, toy babies painted with glitter, and brass jewellery hanging in strands along cascading tendrils. The title When the Bough Breaks references the edge between childhood innocence and experience; the work is playful yet evokes an undertone of malice. Using a cache of family snapshots, Russell de Moura’s photo manipulations carry narratives that viewers might identify with, such as in Nary the Twain Shall Meet, where the mother and son figures are forever divided by material voids. Returning to the landscape for subject matter, Vaughan Evans uses the most traditional of medium, the linocut print, to express the panoramic view of Harrington Sound from the perspective of Abbot’s Cliff. Rendered in black ink on delicate Chinese paper, the work reminds us that Bermuda’s landscape art tradition is also an active genre for innovation.
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