By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
THE D’Aguilar Art Foundation’s most recent exhibition features the work of contemporary Bahamian and international artists focusing on the portrayal of the face.
Over 30 pieces make up the “Fix Ya Face” exhibit, opened at the art foundation last week. Exhibit curator Alistair Stevenson said the approached used to select the portraits was to accept image that generally alluded to the likeness of a face. In the end, only four of the 36 selected works are traditional portraits.
“Inevitably I learned that this was not the portrait exhibition I thought it was going to be and the solution stood plainly in front of my own face the entire time. Fix Ya Face is an exhibition of faces,” said Mr Stevenson.
It addresses the many ways in which artists have defined the face. It is an exploration of imagination and process, said Mr Stevenson; a display of influence, thought and preservation of the ideals of beauty held by the artists.
“We have used the common autocratic Bahamian colloquialism ‘fix ya face’ as a way to discuss such ideals of beauty in the Bahamian context. This body of work explores the diverse methods of portraying the face and the possible reasoning behind them. For some, addressing this issue may appear as an age-old and unnecessary discussion. However, many individuals are unable to appreciate the different types of art available outside of realism and hyper-realism so it is quite necessary that such a conversation continue to take place for the sake of exposure,” said Mr Stevenson.
Speaking about Kendal Hanna’s work in the exhibit, Mr Stevenson said Mr Hanna moves beyond the social norm of realism and contributes to abstract-expressionism in the Bahamian art community.
“Hanna’s generally loose style makes for pieces with a strong presence and compositions that are nothing less than on point. As one of two of Hanna’s pieces in Fix Ya Face, “Mask of Girl” is a combination of ink and oil paint on a canvas which has been folded several times in a method adopted from the Rosharch test. Despite the lack of realistic detail this dark sort of silhouette portrayed here suggests that this is indeed some type of mask,” said Mr Stevenson.
Matthew Wildgoose’s piece,
“Mr Spence” contrasts with Mr Hanna’s work, said Mr Stevenson.
“Wildgoose is known in the Bahamian art community as one of few artists who have successfully captured the personalities of many prominent figures of this nation’s history and present day affairs. Whether it is an illustration of Pindling posing heroically as a boxer or a play on one of many Bahamian artists, you can always expect Wildgoose to filter out the true essence of his subjects,” said Mr Stevenson.
Unlike most of the pieces in this exhibition, “Mr Spence” truly fits the definition of a portrait, he said. Using acrylic paint along a tightly woven canvas, Mr Wildgoose portrays Joseph Spence in character: “a man focused on the strings of his guitar, holding between succulent lips a supposedly unlit smoking pipe, probably armed with fresh tobacco, ready to fire away at the burst of musical strings”.
One of the international artists represented in Fix Ya Face is African-American artist and scholar Romare Bearden, recognised for his many contributions concerning the representation of minority groups in the United States of America, particularly in reference to persons of African heritage.
Mr Stevenson said Mr Bearden’s “Face looking to the right” uses broad brush strokes to create facial features that establish a person of African heritage. He said based on Mr Bearden’s definition of the face in this piece it would appear that subtlety can easily capture both the emotional and logistical aspects of a subject.
Fix Ya Face will be on display until January 2013. To view the collection, contact the gallery at 325-1957.