Timeless works on display at the Bermuda Society of Arts
Rory Jackson’s paintings at the Bermuda Society of Arts are timeless; and by that I mean that they could have been painted in 1930 or this morning.
I am old enough to remember the Bermuda of the 1930s and there have certainly been many changes since then. Jackson chose to paint the Bermuda which has hardly changed at all; our beaches, coastal rocks, the sea, clouds, sandy paths and old cottages.
What particularly stands out for me with Jackson’s paintings is his ability to match the colours of Bermuda precisely. This is another aspect of Bermuda that has not changed. We locals often take the unique colours of our island for granted, as that is what surrounds us day in and day out. However, whenever I leave and look down on the land, be it the US or the UK, I am struck by just how vibrant, colour-wise, Bermuda is in comparison.
In a conversation I had with the artist he said that on his first trip to Bermuda in 2017, when coming from the airport and crossing the Causeway, he noticed the varied colours of the water in Ferry Reach and wondered if he would ever be able to match that with oil paint. To say the least, he has been notably successful in this matter, but that is part of the genius of his skill.
There are sixteen paintings in the show, all fairly modest in size and price. Any one of these paintings would make a treasured gift for Christmas.
One in particular reaches out and grabs me. I suppose it stems from nostalgia, but Travelled Through All Time is a favourite of mine. It shows a sandy path bordered by scrub vegetation and a rather rustic wood fence on the right of the path and a stone cutting on the left. There is a hint of the sea seen through the bush and one can imagine a beach, along with a swim and a picnic ahead.
Another painting, So Many Paths of Buoyancy, depicts what I think is a window, showcasing a view through an open space which is framed by shaded palms. Beyond this is a bay with boats and beyond even that, a distant sunlit neck of land with the suggestion of white roofs. The interplay of sunlight and shade is what makes this painting so special. I am told that this is a depiction of Tucker’s Town Bay.
Reverence to the Aged pictures an old, possibly 19th century cottage, once painted pale blue, but now showing the patina of age. A couple windows have push-out shutters, while others are devoid of any such protection. At the left end is a large chimney, suggesting a cooking fireplace or even a brick oven. The cottage is located at the top of a little rise, but is painted from the perspective of being below. There is a rocky, unpaved drive on the left and a shade tree on the right. This type of cottage was once common, however these symmetrical cottages are now becoming altogether too rare. They are being altered by gussied additions, thus losing their simple, albeit classical character.
This exhibition continues through January 13 but, if seeking an unusual gift, you might want to see it before Christmas. There is not much time left for that.