Monday, 12 August 2013

PLAYING FIELD: Diversity and texture define a poignant new group exhibition at the National Gallery

COLOUR FIELD: An image from McCarthy's 2013 series. Below, Anzinger's communal collage.

Among the most intriguing contributions to the National Gallery’s dazzling New Roots group exhibit, featuring works by a selection of fast-emerging new-school Jamaican artists is Matthew McCarthy’s headline-worthy effort “Put This On Page 2,” which commands the first room of the exhibit, prime real estate. 

Currently in his 20s, McCarthy is an envelope-pushing creative soul, whose illustrations and murals appealingly explore his unmistakable obsession with Jamaican street signs -- not to mention old-school illustrations and the global street-art movement. 

A recent graduate of the Edna Manley College, McCarthy spent the last five years honing his skills, and as his latest work vividly suggests, local and global happenings will continue to influence his mixed-media style for years to come. 

Co-curated by Nicole Smythe-Johnson and Oneil Lawrence, the eclectic display features roughly 150 works (by ten artists), most of them new and richly textured, including photographs (Varun Baker), paintings (Gisele Gardner an Astro Saulter), video installations (Nile Saulter and Olivia McGhilchrist) and acrylic portraiture on sandwich nags (Camille Chedda). 
While Gardner and Deborah Anzinger chose to make abstraction their own (with compelling results), McGhilchrist takes a more personal approach. “Since returning to Jamaica, my practice has incorporated by body,” says the award-winning artist whose current body of work is called “Whitey,” remapping it within the tropical picturesque through photographic tableaux, performances and much-layered videos.” 

For the show, Nile Saulter has debuted a mini documentary film. “In my work, I seek to delve a little deeper into the small motivations of people, to look at things they say but feel in every step,” Saulter explains. “I like to take the approach of a voyeur, shooting in that style.” In any medium, that’s always a fascinating route to take.




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