Staff Picks: The Best of 2012Friday, January 4th, 2013 Categories: Features, Updates
To celebrate the tremendous year ARC has had, we would like to share with our supporters a collection of our favorite interviews, features and all else from the 2012. In no particular order we present the following features. See more of ARC’s original features here.
In February art and cultural historian Allison Harbin interviewed Bermudan Photographer James Cooper in Caught In A Dream: The Surreal Reality of James Cooper’s Photographs. James Cooper is an artist who currently works in Bermuda, where he lives with his wife and two children. He attended the University of Virginia in the United States, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history. He has been photographing for the past decade in Bermuda as well as internationally. Cooper’s work pushes reality into the fantastic using the lush tropical surroundings of Bermuda and the people who inhabit it. Harbin and Cooper share considerations on play, the image and presence.
+fav brought you independent curator Shantrelle P. Lewis investigating Renée Cox’s ’Yo Mama’ in Fear of A Black God. What happens then, when that same little Black girl, with Jamaican roots and upper-middle class upbringing, interacts with those negating images? She grows up into a Black woman, or most notably, a “rude gyal” with an attitude, who would thirty-something years later unabashedly confront that iconography, in the form of a series entitled Yo Mama.
In March painter and critic Blake Daniels explored the work of Jamaican Painter Andrae Green in The Dissonance of Color. Andrae Green’s paintings are bold and determinant, self reflexively translating content through the specificity of the surface and color, reconstituting their own context and subjectivity. Questions of race, national/self identity, and bodily migration permeate through the surface of a painting tradition, entering into an intricate dance in which Green insists on taking lead.
Art Historian Elaine MackIntosh reviewed the seminal book Art In The Caribbean An Introduction, edited by Anne Walmsley and Stanley Greaves in collaboration with Christopher Cozier and published by New Beacon Books.
St. Lucian poet Vladimir Lucien dissects the work of Trinidadian Photographer Abigail Hadeed in The Fidelity of Stillness. The breadth of Abigail Hadeed’s oeuvre is extensive, and a full review of her work is a task too gargantuan to attempt in anything less than a full-length feature. From the pictures of those very special years of the Trinidad Theatre Workshop, to carnival, to her more commercial work, the task of appraising it all looks more and more impossible as one peruses her massive output.
Carl E. Hazlewood writes about the work of Dominican artist Lennon Jno-Baptiste in New Myths. Lennon Jno-Baptiste has accomplished something that is quite significant. He has succeeded in making art that allows us fresh visual and cultural insight into the continuing confusion about how we exist in the world and in the regard of various others—that is, anyone who isn’t specifically us. He brings a superb visual quality and sardonic wit to works that are all about seeing; it’s about how one sees, what one perceives, and the ways in which history, and visual codes and signs create acceptable or unacceptable definitions of a people.
Senior Curator of the National Gallery of Jamaica, Nicole Smythe Johnson, writes about the work of photographer O’Neil Lawrence and his solo show at the Mutual Gallery entitled Son of a Champion. The most engaging feature of O’Neil Lawrence’s Son of a Champion is an unsettling interpretative suppleness. The exhibit- comprised of sixteen photographs and a video presentation- invites, or better yet incites reading, but stubbornly eludes interpretation.
Cultural critic Marsha Pearce investigates the work of Loretta Collins Klobah’s newest book ‘The Twelve Foot Neon Woman’ in When a Poem Makes the Surface of a Painting Permeable. Loretta Collins Klobah makes provocative connections between words and images to investigate those threads that are being woven together again and again into a Caribbean picture, which cannot be understood as static or fixed. Her poetry becomes part of the weaving process as she deploys her imagination to open up that picture to new readings and meanings.
Barbadian art historian Natalie McGuire’s column ArtStew was in particular critical offering various studies on the female Caribbean body and its representation. McGuire presented us with different readings of nudity and the cultural gaze that has often been read through a masculine lens. Is the Contemporary Caribbean Women Naked and What is a Contemporary Caribbean Woman offer insight into the changing gendered landscape.
Junot Díaz is arguably the most influential writer of Dominican descent living today. His first short story collection Drown received critical acclaim when it was published in 1996, and his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which was published a decade later, was awarded countless prizes including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2008. Díaz’s third book, This Is How You Lose Her, was released in September, and Natasha Guzman interviewed him on the release of his latest collection in Junot Díaz on fidelity, Humanism and Race.
Keisha Oliver interviewed Senior Curator of the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, John Cox, on the 6th Annual National Exhibition ‘NE6′ titled Kingdom Come. Cox reveals ideas behind the theme of the exhibition and the differing approach in his curatorial strategy. Kingdom Come showcases the works of 49 Bahamian artists and runs through April 9th 2013. Read the interview here.
Barbadian artist and assistant director of Fresh Milk, Katherine Kennedy, reviewed Sheena Roses’ first performance One Person, Many Stories. Through a series of conversations Rose tackles tabooed subject matter which are still rampant throughout many conservative Caribbean countries including, rape, misogyny, identity and sexuality.
Liz Sales interviewed Brooklyn based photographer Michael Spears. Spears was born in Bloomington, Indiana and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His work has appeared in publications such as HIGH TIMES, Thrasher, and Vice and can also be found on such sites as Wax Poetics and Tinyvices. His current blog, Alien Eyeballer, houses the steady stream of photographs he creates, and the conversation centered around blog culture and photography’s expansion of the field of visual exploration. Read: On Photography and Blog Culture.
South African writer and fine artist Shannon Ferguson shares the inner workings of Jamaican artist Zoya Taylor’s illustrations and paintings in Zoya Taylor and the Misfits. Zoya Taylor’s paintings are one such act of generosity. They could be said to create a poetic visual account of Zoya’s view of people through her various experiences, emotionally and intellectually. Zoya’s cast of characters is open for all and sundry to contemplate in their own capacities, turning an individual’s perspective into a window open to the masses to look through, and into the world of human expression. Read more here.
Stephanie Nazywalskyj reviews Haitian artist Manuel Mathieu’s solo exhibition ‘Open Ended’ which was held at the MAI in Montreal. The Last Stroke reveals the artist’s process and his intimate appreciation of art history, experimentation and homage. Open-Ended presented a compendium of 7 paintings and 3 drawings, ranging from medium to large in size and created in proportion to the gallery space.
And, finally, director of the Bermuda National Gallery Lisa Howie, reviews the 2012 Bermuda Biennial which was curated by Sophie Cressall, who created an experience for the viewer to enter into the museum, navigate the various expressions and do so in a way that encourages intellectual or reflective links, while not compromising the intentions of each artist, of each unique expression. In Capturing the Elipsis we maneuver the works of 6 artists whose works stood out and left room for experimentation and exploration.
Look forward to more as we continue our exploration of the Caribbean creative landscape for the next 12 months.