A collector’s first impression
With 90 contributors across diverse media, the pandemic has not diminished the creative spirit and the arts are alive and well in Bermuda. Artistic sensibilities have been nurtured over the past twelve months such that this exhibition bears witness to a depth of introspection, breath of observation and sometimes sheer joy in creativity.
Drawing on our natural surroundings is the predominant theme; people are secondary. Where figures are represented they symbolise struggle. Looking back at what we’ve all endured over the past 12 months, one may have expected to see more strife, more of the hardship, discontent and loss that we’ve all encountered. However, nature trumps the human experience. Our artists have predominantly looked at the natural world around them, less for solace, much more for reassurance. Whales, cahows, marine life, palms, cedar — these are the motifs that have provoked contemplation and study.
In the main, these artists’ work reflect the solitude, the silence and the introspection that have characterised our recent collective experience. There is very little activity, no “noise” from the outside world, and no overt reference to the global upheaval we’ve lived through. The viewer’s experience of Bermuda is as an oasis of natural beauty as a buffer against virus and death.
Notable highlights are Shelter in Place(with help from Klimt), a woodblock print collage by Amy and Vaughan Evans. The familiar Klimt embrace is this time swathed in a quilt that skillfully pays homage to Bermuda’s architecture and presents us with an aerial view of a community, bound by the ocean waves into which is playfully dipped a toe, feeling the waters: no, the pandemic is not over — back inside, under the covers where all is warm, and familiar and safe.
Scott King’s Learn, a sculptural tour de force of Colorado Yule Marble, is contemplative, indulgent in its grace and presents a form that evokes flight, courage and a soft enveloping embrace that is so wonderfully in contrast with the material used.
World Underwater by Michaela Antoinette is a superb work featuring the apparent tranquillity of floating jellyfish. However, the delicate hues belie what really lies within. Her brilliant use of technology takes the viewer’s experience to a whole new level to reveal a powerful social commentary and personal impact statement on the pandemic.
Playful, humourous and cheerful pieces by Monica Jones, Anne Kermode and Nicky Gurret are balanced by ponderous dystopian works by Graham Foster, Antoine Hunt and Stratton Hatfield. James Cooper’s All of US, acrylic on mirror, is a very powerful reflection on the social issues we’ve faced and Paradise’s Changing Landscape by Kyle James is a creative and artful way of cataloguing the local events over the past 12 months.
This exhibition presents us with an opportunity to see our island — nature, people and our future in a new way. Treasure Map by Michael Coles invites us to dream up new prosperity.
I invite you to spend some time to explore all that this exhibition has to offer and to join me in supporting the artists who offer us welcome respite from our daily toil, and the Masterworks Museum and John Charman who have made this exhibition possible.
• Sylvia Jones, an art aficionada, is the managing director of Corporate Concierge