Monday, 31 August 2015

POINT OF VIEW: Art-world rising stars Richard Nattoo and Monique Gilpin reflect on craft and creating challenging work

HER OWN CREATION: At age 30, Monique Gilpin holds down one of the single most coveted jobs in the Jamaican arts world: assistant curator at the National Gallery West in her hometown of Montego Bay, St. James – the newest arm of the National Gallery of Jamaica. Though the more theoretical aspect of life as an artist brings it owns rewards, Gilpin says she can’t live without the heady result comes with creating and showcasing works that speak open dialogue and reflect her myriad and varied experiences as a Caribbean native. “The way I see the world is based on what I have experienced,” shares the Edna Manley School of Art grad, who is among the 10 artists currently participating in the just-opened Young Talent exhibition at the National Gallery. Her ‘Porcelain Series’ is a striking mix of opulent colour and social commentary. “Growing up I’ve always yearned for some stability in my life, and that’s what inspired this series. I wanted to explore something that hits close to home.” The artist-audience relationship, she observes, is a tricky one but’s dynamic she’s come to cherish. “Art in general needs no explanation,” Gilpin insists. “If the viewer can relate to what I’ve created in some way shape or way or form then my work is done.” 

THE SURREAL LIFE: Richard Nattoo wasn’t your average four year old. As he recalls, that’s when his journey as an artist began – a trajectory that’s taken him from pen and ink to lush watercolor, glass and archival paper and the various media in between. In short, when it comes to artistic expression for Nattoo the options are endless. “Growing up I used art as a way to vent about whatever was going around me,” explains the 22-year-old St. Catherine native, who says he finds fulfillment in provocatively tackling the issues and ideas that capture his gaze. (Consider his “Lost in the Odyssey” and “Immersed”, both featured in the 2015 Young Talent showcase at the National Gallery.) “Exploration has always been a constant in my life and an integral part of my art and artistic processes. I create in an attempt to capture and deconstruct the common feelings and emotions in everyday life,’ says the University of Technology undergrad, who is pursuing a BA in Architectural Studies. Like Gilpin, he relishes any and every opportunity to forge a real connection with his audiences. Says Nattoo, “With my work I want to capture the feelings I experience and translate them into the kinds of surreal spaces that we all inhabit within ourselves.”

> The 2015 Young Talent show is on view at the National Gallery, Downtown Kingston, from Aug. 30 through Nov. 14.

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