Friday, March 27, 2015

A Natural History Artists Book

Oneika Russell, Cover of Exhibition copy of artists book, 2015
Since 2009/10 I have been working on drawings, photos, videos and prints which I call The 'A Natural History' Series. I have amassed many pieces of work which I wanted to pull together into a document. Books and their sequential aesthetic have been a part of my practice from very early on. With technology being what it is now, a show coming up and the wrapping up of this body of work, I felt finally making an artists book would be the best thing. It includes the poem and images from the 'Notes To You' installation as well as the drawings and images from many of the videos and prints in this series. There will only be 100 copies printed and the books will be signed and numbered. You may contact me if you wish to collect it.

I am showing this first artists book in the NLS group show called INSIDES. The show also features new and experimental work by Camille Chedda, Prudence Lovell and Phillip Thomas.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Collaboration With Charles Campbell on Fractal Engagements

Still from Fractal Engagements showing The Dancer/ Contortionist
Still from Fractal Engagements showing The Dancing Woman
Still from Fractal Engagements showing The Fireman

Since November 2014, I have been working on a collaboration with Charles Campbell to produce a video which documents his performance, Fractal Engagements. The video took documentation photos of the performance which took participants on a journey through the lanes and highways of a couple blocks of downtown Kingston. The performance ended in the burnt-out shell of a building off Luke Lane. I didn't attend the performance myself but it was documented by Storm Saulter, Nile Saulter and Marvin Bartley.

Still from Fractal Engagements showing The Participants
En Mas' Installation View

The fact that I didn't see the performance was really a main idea that I thought could sustain the video. I used less of the photos and more of drawings made from the photos to try to get at that second-hand description of the event. Several of the characters Charles had organized to pop-up in the real performance/ procession of participants also re-occurred in the video. Fractal Engagements debuted yesterday as one of the commissioned works in En Mas': Carnival and Performance Art of The Caribbean and will travel to various spaces throughout the U.S. Find out more about the exhibition and its concept here.

Notes To You: An Installation @ The 2014 Jamaica Biennial

Installation view of Notes To You at Devon House
Installation view of the canopy bed in The Little Girl's Room at Devon House      
 Notes To You was installed at The Devon House leg of the 2014 Jamaica Biennial. The work when first installed downtown at the offices of Myers, Fletcher & Gordon in August, 2014 was pinned to the wall along the curves of the inner architecture in a more grid-like arrangement. 

Installation view of Notes To You at Devon House
Installation view of Notes To You at Devon House

This time due to the space chosen the artists had to work with the rules of the house as a historic site and the arrangement of the furniture in the room. One of the goals was to arrange the cards over various pieces of furniture but leave them also feeling integrated. The softer frillier materials of the canopy bed were a way to anchor the cards and merge it with the furniture in the room. Coloured tulle provided that integrating medium for the cards. I am now thinking of ways for these cards to become something that everyone can have access to without losing the essence of the installation.

Preservations: An Installation @ The 2014 Jamaica Biennial

       Gold paintings on paper

Preservations is an installation I mounted for the 2014 Jamaica Biennial in December 2014.
This work came from The Selfie Drawing Project I did on Facebook between 2013 and 2015. In that project I was really seeking for a way to just make drawings which had no high art motivation. Those drawings were a way of just thinking about how to draw different faces and persons and think about how to get a likeness while using very sparse materials and have people participate in that. The project is now finished but I wanted to develop it further for The Biennial to see if I could start a new body of work from it. Interests in antiquity, relics, artifacts and this idea of drawing as preservation of memories began to emerge in the work. I began to make a series of drawings in gold paint to investigate what these memory drawings would look like.

Installation view of the work during set-up
The drawings felt like they needed to become a more material form so I also began to make clay objects which were painted gold. The whole work was shown as an arrangement of drawings and objects as well as a video featuring the gold objects and other related ink drawings. They have this quality of multiple images seen in one drawing based on how the light hits it and how they move that I find to be an interesting exploration.

Video still from the Preservations Installation
Video Still form the Preservations Installation
  I also find interesting the fake aspect of the gold in thinking about surfaces and impressions in relation to people and memory of them. The work wasn't fully realized in the way it had been planned but this is the nature of artistic practice, things work on paper that don't always work in the space particularly when you don't have access to the space until quite close to the exhibition. No other light source was allowed in the space until quite late to light the work so I hope to mount this work and its continuance in another space so it can be realized in a different way.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

IN RETROSPECT: 40 Years of The National Gallery of Jamaica

Students looking at Porthole at The National Gallery of Jamaica.
Porthole, a video work I created in 2008 while on residency at Post-Museum in Singapore has made various rounds in the Caribbean and outside. It seems to be one of few works that an artist is lucky enough to create which seem to have struck a cultural chord. I suppose in the scope of all the discussions on animation happening locally it somehow still does as it features an animated dancehall diva and sound bytes from a local dancehall sessions.

Catalogue of the exhibition
The National Gallery of Jamaica has mounted a very directed and streamlined exhibition which talks about its own role in creating various art narratives and histories. The catalogue is one which will in time prove very useful for students and aficionados of art everywhere. I took my students from the Art in Context course at Edna Manley College to see it today as a way of discussing new ways of dealing with portraiture and still life and recommend they purchase it as a text.