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Oneika Russell

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.