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John Gardner’sTriangle takes centre stage at Bridge House `

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The Bermuda National Gallery (BNG) is using one of Bermuda's oldest buildings to host some of the Island's most contemporary art.

The BNG has its members opening of the St Georges portion of the Bermuda Biennial 2014: A View from the Edge, this evening (Saturday) in 18th Century Bridge House. The satellite gallery opened just a year ago, and it is the first time it has been used to host a portion of the Bermuda Biennial.

“The Bridge House space is a creative lab that really allows us to experiment with how or what types of contemporary works we are able to achieve with these small but old spaces,” said BNG Director Lisa Howie. “We have limitations on what we can display based on the climate which is difficult to control. We can't show any kind of archival matter. Those limitations are almost a liberty, because it allows us to experiment and have fun.”

John Gardner's Triangle is certainly a prime example of experimentation and fun. It is an installation piece that promises to takes centre stage. It looks like a very large open music box in the shape of a triangle. The bottom half is filled with water and bits of rust, and the top half is a digital screen. Projected on the screen is the image of dancer (Anna Clifford) and there is a voice over of local poet Tiffany Paynter reading a poem.

Mr Gardner, an architect by trade, is well known to the Bermuda art scene. His work was also featured in the 2012 Biennial.

“The first global reference for Bermuda by people worldwide is the Bermuda Triangle,” said Mr Gardner in his artists' statement. “The Bermuda Triangle is a construct to explain mysteries at sea; it was first publicised in a 1964 February issue of the pulp magazine Argosy.

“In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of its creation we propose an installation of markers in its three corners: Bermuda, Miami and Puerto Rico.

The complete work embraces a cross-disciplinary celebration of architecture, sculpture, dance and spoken word so that it may fully reflect the communities defining this cultural form.”

He said his intention was to explore themes of place, explanation, culture and relationships all within a mystical context.

“This particular installation is an independent ‘in-camera' first work as a part of realising and exploring this vision through a series of works,” he said. “The overriding goal is to launch a similar engagement and exploration with Miami and Puerto Rico, to place substantial sculptural markers in each corner of the triangle as well as transits through the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos.” He said the water pool aspect was designed to reflect the image of the dancer, to reflect light generally, and to engage the viewer.

“We anticipate that the viewer may want to touch the water and that is fine,” he said. “It is important that the normal barriers of precious separation of the viewer and the work dissolve so that the work is approachable and can generate new experiences.”

Ms Howie said she thought Triangle was not just one of the highlights of this year's Biennial, but possibly one of the highlights of the contemporary art movement in Bermuda.

“He wasn't commissioned to do this,” she said. “He has entirely fabricated it on his own. He is taking advantage of the art for art sake and expressing it to the theme and setting the bar high.”

Other Biennial artists on display at Bridge House include Charlie Godet Thomas, Jon Legere and Antoine Hunt.

“One of the qualities that make the Biennial, as an exhibition, so intriguing is that it is rooted in experimentation,” said Ms Howie. “For the artists, they are encouraged to take risks and be innovative and for the museum, we examine the successes and opportunities for change from one exhibition to the next. The biennial, happening as it describes every two years, is uniquely temporary, which gives the museum, as an institution bound by certain responsibilities, the freedom to engage art and audiences in new ways.”

This year's jurors were New York based curator, writer, and New York University professor Isolde Brielmaier and Amanda Coulson, Executive Director of the National Gallery of the Bahamas.

The BNG Bridge House Gallery is open every day of the week from 11am to 4pm, and offers free admission. The Bermuda Biennial will open to the public at Bridge House tomorrow (Sunday). The Bermuda Biennial will open at City Hall on June 20. It is open Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm; and on Saturday from 10am to 2pm. The exhibition runs until November.

Triangle by John Gardner featured in the Bermuda Biennial in the contemporary section being housed at the Bermuda National Gallery East in Bridge House, in St George's. Photo Mark Tatem
A contemporary piece by Jon Legere in the Bermuda Biennial. Photo Mark Tatem

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Published June 14, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated June 14, 2014 at 8:57 am)

John Gardner’sTriangle takes centre stage at Bridge House `

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