Last update: 10-Dec-2013 1:42 am
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Return to Eden
What began as a desire to explore a shared interest in visual expressions of the natural world has now become a creative tribute to life in the face of death and a longing for an ideal state in which pain and sorrow do not exist. The group exhibition Eden, which opened August 2 at the Art Society, features the work of Gabriella D’Abreau, Reuben Gonzales and Sarah Burrows. D’Abreau said, “Initially we were searching for things that we had in common artistically. One day while looking out the window the thought came to Sarah of portraying the ideas of In My Backyard. This general garden theme would eventually become Eden, a concept allowing us to delve into the beauty and mystery of the very first garden.”
Indeed, the allure of flora is key to the investigation undertaken by each artist. Burrows’ pieces in colour pencils and inks, D’Abreau’s use of acrylic paints and Gonzales’ mix of watercolours with three-dimensional elements give a range of personal responses to nature. The dominance of the female figure in pieces by D’Abreau and Gonzales also demonstrates the artists’ consideration of a personification of flowers, vines, roots and leaves. Woman is rendered the epitome of the sumptuousness and rich dimension of the natural environment. Such works call to mind the idea of Eden’s Eve and the various mythologies and impressions associated with womanhood—from temptress to life-giving force.
Yet, with all of its images of vegetation, the concept of this exhibition has evolved to include a utopian vision of our existence. “The show also represents the desire to return to Eden, to a life without misery. This aspect of the theme was of paramount importance to Sarah, as her mother was suffering from a terminal disease during the course of the preparation of this exhibition. In fact, the day after she finished her favourite piece for the exhibition, her mother passed away,” D’Abreau explains. The piece to which D’Abreau refers is of the tree of knowledge, one of a number of works in the show that seek to confront the wretchedness of the world and attempt to dispel it. “Some of the pieces express a desire for a world without sickness or a world where we are not at odds with nature,” D’Abreau adds. The Eden exhibition creates the space for the light of one life to be honoured and for the glow of hope, for all of us, to flicker.
Eden runs from August 2–11 at the Art Society, corner Jamaica Boulevard and St Vincent Avenue, Federation Park, Port-of-Spain. Gallery hours: 10.30 am–6.30 pm.
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