Art and family, at Christmas
In 2020 Carmen Domarco said goodbye to her children and got started on her art. A year later, she is thrilled to be able to introduce her offspring to the 21-piece collection she calls Lucid Dreaming. A solo exhibit at the Bermuda Society of Arts, it highlights problems now facing the world: climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Q:How wonderful was it to see your children again? Were you all determined to celebrate Christmas together?
A: We have four children aged between 21 and 29, one lives in Spain and the others in Canada. We were in Spain in October and November but haven’t been to Canada since before the pandemic. Thanks to technology we still see them and talk to them every day, but there’s nothing like having the whole family together all in one place, which is what we’ll be doing this Christmas for the first time in a year. We’ve never missed a Christmas together, so it really is a special family time for everyone.
Q:Have you always been interested in art?
A: Growing up in Seville, [Spain] I was surrounded by art and music and dance. My father was a matador, my older brother painted and my sisters and I were always dancing and scheming to be part of every school show, from kindergarten on up. After high school I studied acting at the Conservatory in Seville and the Actors Studio in Madrid. That led to work in theatre and film, which was fun and exciting because it brings together so many different types of creative people, writers, actors, set designers, musicians … all artists. I started going to art shows and gallery openings with my theatre friends and eventually I met my future husband, a painter and sculptor from Canada who spoke no Spanish. I also spoke no English, so it was some time before we could actually have a conversation. What I liked most about his lifestyle was the degree of independence and control over his work, compared to theatre which involves the collaboration of so many people. Once we were a couple we started painted together and working on commissions and I eventually enrolled in a university art programme to learn more techniques. In retrospect, the shift from acting to painting was about being able to control the creative process and being able to work anywhere.
Q:When did you move to Bermuda?
A: We came to live in Bermuda at the beginning of 2017. The journey from Seville to Bermuda took almost twenty years, stopping for a few years at a time in parts of South America, Canada, the Caribbean, Mediterranean and finally Bermuda. I love living on islands with beautiful colours, warm weather and friendly people. Bermuda is one of the most beautiful and inspirational places I’ve ever been.
Q:Is this your first show here?
A: My first solo exhibition in Bermuda was at Masterworks Museum in 2018 and I’ve since had four more – one at Masterworks and three at Edinburgh Gallery, BSoA. Also, several groups shows including the 2019 and 2021 Charman Prize exhibitions at Masterworks, members’ shows at BSoA and two International Women’s Club exhibitions at the Chubb Gallery.
Q:Have you had any formal art lessons?
A: I studied fine art for a year at the University of Santo Domingo in Dominican Republic, though much of what I do I learnt on my own. I also learnt a lot of techniques in the years I worked with my husband, though he’s fond of saying that he learnt more from me than I did from him!
Q:How would you describe your work?
A: Visually, I’m trying to create beautiful pictures that are a treat for the mind and soul as well as the eyes. Every series of works is an investigation of some aspect of life’s mysteries … how did inanimate matter become life? How did life become conscious? How did consciousness become reflexive and transcendent? I’m interested in cosmology, archaeology, biology, music, life, love, beauty, the forces of nature. Why do galaxies, planets, people move in circles? Compositionally, I like to combine figurative and abstract elements, to ask questions, create stories, process the contents of our collective subconscious.
Q:And your current show, Lucid Dreaming?
A: [It] contains themes related to our processing of the combined crisis of pandemic and climate change … rising tides, fires and flood, uncertainty about the future. Flora and fauna in these compositions are used to represent people, depict situations and tell stories. Thematically the question is what about consciousness in dreams and, if it is possible to control our dreams, why be mere passive spectators to what is currently going on in our shared waking world?
Q:Have your children been able to see your show?
A: So far only in photos but we’ll all be seeing it together sometime over the holidays.
Q: Over what period was the work done?
A: Everything in the current exhibition was created between January and November 2021.
Q: How can people follow your work?
A: I have a website, carmendomarco.com, and am also on Instagram, @carmendomarco.