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Micro-Gardens in Woodbrook on exhibit

Monday, June 17, 2013
Artist Oswald Glean Chase discusses his work with patrons at his recent exhibition. PHOTO: ANDY HYPOLITE

On Monday, the Art Society of T&T hosted the opening of a new exhibition by Oswald Glean Chase titled Trinidad As Art: Micro-Gardens in Woodbrook.


While the exhibition’s name may trigger thoughts of urban gardening techniques and small backyard garden beds, Chase’s pieces present encounters with missed and dismissed works of art on the streets of Woodbrook. 


Piles of fallen leaves, weeds growing from wall crevices and vegetation sprouting from sidewalk cracks are some of the subjects of his pictures.


Speaking at the Art Society in Federation Park, Port-of-Spain, Chase said he took the photographs within an area of Woodbrook between French and Colville Streets and between Tragarete Rd and Wrightson Rd. 


The New York-based photographer and artist in Woodbrook before leaving T&T to study architecture in parts of England, France and Germany. Throughout his career he has completed experimental projects in architecture and in art, designing and hosting exhibitions in T&T, Europe and the US. He is currently a professor of architectural history and design theory at Howard University in Washington DC.


He said the pieces in his latest exhibition showed perplexing images of vegetation that grows in confined spaces and aimed to provide visual information that goes beyond where aesthetics may want to direct people’s perceptions. He also explained why he chose not to give each piece a title or to provide a catalogue for the exhibition.


“The exhibit is primarily of pavements and micro-gardens that develop in cracks and crevices. These images are really intended for your interpretation, for your own name-giving. I thought if I gave them a name, it would just be colonising your mind for what I think is your right to arrive at your own impressions.”


He added he did not want to undermine people’s innate ability to arrive at their own metapoetic or metamythical understanding. Some of the pieces in the exhibit are also works of pointillism—a painting technique which involves using small, distinct dots and arranging them in patterns so as to create an image. Chase said the technique involved use of a quilt pen to position the dots and to give the image form and movement. He said the overarching themes of the exhibition are realism and metarealism since he expected people to bring their own perspectives and analogies to his work. He urged artists and photographers to “pay more attention to the ordinary” and not to avoid the cracks of life’s footscape.


Chase’s exhibition ends on June 22 and gallery hours are between 10am and 6pm. For more information, call the Art Society of T&T at 622-9827


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