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.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

(e)merge Art Fair 2014

Oneika Russell, Untitled print from currently unpublished artists book, editon of 5, 2012

NLS Kingston, ARC Magazine and have partnered to organize various events which are creating initiatives, opportunity, increased values, adopting curatorial best practices and the list goes on. Together out of this partnership they will be presenting 10 artists with diverse practices. 3 of my prints from an as yet unpublished artists book will be shown. The dates are from October 2nd to 5th at the Capitol Skyline Hotel in Washington D.C. If you happen to be in the area check it out. You can find out more about the NLS & ARC programme here

Also I took part in a live broadcast organized and moderated by NLS. The conversation between myself, Mark King and Anabel Vázquez Rodríguez discussed being an outsider within your own culture as an artist, creating new narratives via intervention, subversion and nostalgia in our work.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Trajectories: 70 Years of Art at MF&G

View of the 2nd wall, Notecards to You, installation, 2014
I was invited to exhibit work in the recent show at Myers, Fletcher & Gordon by curator Nicole Smythe-Johnson in May. The show was sheduled for June but was moved to a July opening date. This didn't leave me alot of time to make work but I wanted to show something different than I normally do in exhibitions in Jamaica. One of the main things about the videos I normally make is that it relies heavily on drawing and painting. The drawings are normally masked by the upfrontness of the software and other multimedia elements I use to create my videos. The result is that over the years I have amassed a decent amount of works on paper. So for this show I collected a few of the larger drawings and also revisited a series of  drawings I did in 2012 for a still unpublished artists book I was working on with three other artists. These are images that help me think through ideas before I get to the stage of making a video and often they influence the imagery in the videos.

View of the 1st wall,  Notecards to You, installation, 2014
 One of the works I made in particular that seemed to come together well was an installation of notecards printed with the images from the artists book and addressed to the viewer and then pinned to the wall. The text inside the cards comes from a letter I wrote to myself about a certain period in time in my life. I then split the text up across the cards so that the letter was a little bit more abstract and that anyone could take away something from each card. The intimacy of the work was one that I enjoyed. There is more about the show here. The curator paired my work with Seya Parboosingh's paintings which for me was a great chance to interact with paintings I have admired for some time.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

'A Natural History' Screens at Pérez Art Museum Miami

Production still from A Natural History 5 Sequence 2, 2014
As a part of the Perez Art Museum Miami's recent film programme, 'At the Crossroads: Critical Film and Video from the Caribbean', my most recent video will be screened. They are running a month-long programme of 5 screenings. Each screening shows a film/video work which has more of a contemporary art- lean accompanied by a feature-length Caribbean-centric film.

This work marks the last in the series. 'A Natural History' really originated and was fuelled by my life in Japan. It was a series of visual images contemplating what my identity was as it shifted meanings between the Caribbean and East Asia. The work also responded to the lovely yet somehow lonely landscapes of Kyoto, where I spent 5 years. Materials used in the making of the video such as Japan-bought pencil crayons, sumi ink and brushes allowed me to think about the content of this work. The act of making several digital and traditional media drawings over and over also re-enforced this. 

Having fully returned to my island home of Jamaica for about eight months now, other influences have begun to creep into my work....other stories... other places. 'A Natural History 5 Sequence 2' really marks the end of that particular narrative in my work. It is fitting, as while creating it I felt I really could say what I wanted to say when I began the first video back in 2010. Interest in the concepts of Primitivism and Intuitive Art have also been important in its making. 

Find out more about the screening of this work and others here

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Selfie Drawing Project

Visit the project page here
The constantly expanding new album of selfie drawings
It has been a while since updating my work on this site. Many things have happened. I have finished my doctoral course, returned to once again live and work in Jamaica and launched a creative collaboration.  Most importantly however, my perspectives and attitudes towards contemporary art have shifted. This coupled with the five years I had exposed to new approaches to creativity and experiences while living in Kyoto, Japan. These changes are also a result of having to think about art theory and its mechanics so closely during my course. There is a reason that artists are for the most part not theorists. I have come to understand that creative practice and the study of it are two completely different ends of different animals. Thinking about art in such abstract and non-practical terms has left me with the need to make things simple again. This is where The Selfie Drawing Project began.

I unintentionally began by doing a drawing of myself instead of submitting a photo for a portrait for a show in Jamaica last summer. I liked the outcome so I posted it as my Facebook portrait. The image got several positive comments and so I invited others to send photos for me to draw from for free. A steady stream has since been coming in. The project gives me a chance to rediscover drawing and share something with people that is just a plain and easy image. I also enjoy the so-called 'selfie revolution' in 2013 and the personalities that come out in the photos. The drawings are not strictly from selfies but it allows me to draw something that someone else thinks is good and that I can reinterpret and share with them. Undoubtedly this is not the end result of the drawings but this is for future development. For now I am once again enjoying the challenge and simplicity of a brush, pen and ink or a stylus teamed with the steady diary-like routine of drawing faces.

To join the project please send me a selfie to my inbox on Facebook with a request to participate and then we can take it from there. Visit the album on Facebook.