art in all its forms

art in all its forms


The coffins that moved

9 out of 219 by Ebony G Patterson at Alice Yard

Ebony G Patterson in conversation with Alice Yard's Christopher Cozier. Photos by Andre Bagoo.

COFFINS everywhere. And bodies, too. They move, are moved, were moved. How motion stops the clock, makes the ephemeral eternal. How streets outside can enter these walls, this yard. Places of mourning become places of candle-light and flight. To feel alive. This is Ebony G Patterson's 9 out of 219.

FIND OUT MORE about this show, part of a series marking Alice Yard's fifth anniversary, here.

SEE more from the show here and here.

"The work, both in its participatory aspects as well as its form, evoked Emily Dickenson’s famous poem, “A coffin—is a small Domain”, the opening lines of which are: “A Coffin—is a small Domain, / Yet able to contain / A Citizen of Paradise / In it diminished Plane.” By making a place for these objects, the artist has taken the artist’s own space and carried it beyond its traditional limits. 

"She has analysed death and its meaning in a manner that draws attention to its inevitability and asked participants to reflect on this and on what we have in common with those who have died. In this way she finds life in death, even if the fate of these objects is tantalisingly unclear."

READ more Newsday coverage here and here


The cover of ARC 3!

THE COVER from ARC magazine, Issue 3. FIND out more here. The cover is by Lavar Munroe.

From 9 out of 219

FROM the first in a series of shows to mark Alice Yard's fifth anniversary. Photos by Andre Bagoo.  READ more here.

'For we ourselves are luminous'

At night, you see, there seems to be one lit room. Who is at its exit, in the doorway, back turned? The soft rectangle of human frame widens. Who waits within the metal edging? In this state of nervousness, forearms go cold seconds before hands catch fire, excessive lotuses of flame. Would you – two dark torches loose at your sides – would you walk into the first of the long dark corridors in a building that consists more nearly of corridors than any that should ever have been designed? Each corridor runs like a spill of milk on a black tile reflected in a smoked glass ceiling clapped on the width of one layer of a hotel. These corridors are dark; you would feel them all like paleness? Though there were light I could not name their handcrafted nougat colours, gentler, intentionally washed-out. I walk in the dark, and you feel the walls’ paleness? For we ourselves are luminous. Except we do not give off light. 

—From About by Vahni Capildeo, featured at Poetry International Web.


PHOTOS FROM 9 out of 219, a participatory work by Jamaican artist Ebony G Patterson. Photos by Andre Bagoo. READ more here.


The poem is already

Image from Danielle Boodoo-Fortune's tumblr.

You are reading this
And the poem is already
Halfway down my throat...

READ more poetry from Danielle Boodoo-Fortune at tongues of the ocean here


In a small space, so many coffins

LAGAHOO: The creature takes on the form of a man with no head who roams the night with a wooden coffin on his neck. On top of the coffin are three lighted candles


* * *


A Coffin—is a small Domain,
Yet able to contain
A Citizen of Paradise
In it diminished Plane.

A Grave—is a restricted Breadth—
Yet ampler than the Sun—
And all the Seas He populates
And Lands He looks upon

To Him who on its small Repose
Bestows a single Friend—
Circumference without Relief—
Or Estimate—or End—

Emily Dickinson

* * *

On Monday 25 July, at 7 pm, Ebony G Patterson will present her work in progress 9 of 219 at Alice Yard, Woodbrook. Both installation and performance, the work will be a “bling” funeral using the Patterson's characteristic heavily decorated objects. Audience members are asked to participate by bringing candles to join in the vigil.

All are invited to the event which marks the start of Alice Yard's fifth year anniversary.

* * *

MORE on the artist:

Born in Kingston in 1981, 
Ebony G. Patterson is a graduate of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica and Sam Fox College of Art and Design at Washington University, St. Louis. She is currently assistant professor in painting at the University of Kentucky. She has exhibited her work in several solo shows in Jamaica and the United States, most recently Ebony G. Patterson: On the Wall and in the Gallery at the Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago; and in group shows including Wrestling with the Image: Caribbean Interventions at the Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DC; the 2008 and 2010 Jamaica National Biennials;Rockstone and Bootheel: Contemporary West Indian Art at Real Art Ways, Hartford, Connecticut; the 2009 Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince; and You Are Here at Fondation Clément in Martinique. One of her digital photographic works was included in Shot in Kingston at Alice Yard in September 2010
Alice Yard.


Mapping the human body

From Joanna Crichlow's Blueprint series 

Perhaps the artists' most inevitable subject is herself. After all, we map our experiences and react to the world around us through the prism of who we are, what we are, what we have experienced, what we have not. Art could be a record of someone, through the medium of recording something.

One thing artists Brianna McCarthy and Joanna Crichlow have in common is a direct engagement with the body in their work. This is, in fact, an engagement with their own bodies and, by extension, an engagement with the implications of their personal spaces in society.

In a sense, all art is an engagement with the body: produced by the body, often depicting the body, reflecting the body via inanimate forms (mountainous landscapes, empty rooms). For if art reflects the artist, then she must admit that she is ultimately a body on a journey to something.

"I juxtaposed images of mannequins with images of me," Crichlow said on Saturday night, explaining her process at a discussion held at Alice Yard, Woodbrook. "The work started as collage and I digitally enhanced them. I also started using wax and I wanted to try different methods."

"I also looked at ideas of fairy tales," she said. The fairy tales which perpetuate stereotypes of human conduct and, specifically, gender tropes.

For Brianna McCarthy, there was a focus on form which lead to a more personal exploration.

"I was fascinated by how you could depict depth through simple lines," she said. "My work is very personal. I make myself in many ways."

Detail from a Zine by Brianna McCarthy

"I have this idea that things don't need to match. I want things to be a little stark like when the blue does not match the purple."

The discussion of the work triggered strong debate among the audience over the issue of why women are required, as artists, to battle with certain expectations, expectations which do not appear to be placed on the shoulders of men. Why is it that the work or the gestures of the artist become so embroiled in notions about gender and in stereotype?

"The issue is about control over the value and meaning of those gestures," artist Christopher Cozier observed.

The discussion on Saturday, which was a very heated but fruitful one, also embraced complex issues of what it means to ascribe limits to what the artist produces. Can too much context narrow the scope of the interpretation of the work? Can a lack of context equally be an inadequate means of engaging with it? The issues points to more political things like: who owns art? who says what art is? Potentially troubling questions which, however, do not distract from what McCarthy called the ultimate "impact" of the art. For the art communicates on several levels: triggering debate and triggering pleasure.

*  *

CHECK OUT Brianna McCarthy's blog, Passion Fruit, here; Joanne Critchow's space here. MORE on Alice Yard is here.

'Nature is correct'

"Nature is about form and function. And because it is so correct, that in itself is a beauty. A dead leaf or the patterns in a stone of the forms of a plant. They follow a natural harmony. When you have that balance, the soul has to respond to it as well as the eyes."-Barbara Jardine.

FROM a short film by Mariel Brown on goldsmith Barbara Jardine. WATCH it here.


Inspiration, Tracy Assing @ ARC

FROM ARC magazine's weekly inspirations at its website. SEE here.

The worst beer cooler ever

Can be seen in Rodell Warner's Mordern Range. Creepy, cool: why is this giving me nightmares?.  SEE more HERE.


A blueprint for the human body?

"From my gaze as a plus-sized woman, the mannequin becomes a mental paragon to me, one which I do not exist within.  It is an image of perfection, the icon of what I refer to as "industrialized idealism".  Through the concept of blueprinting, my work challenges the constructs of industrialized idealism by juxtaposing images of my own body with those of mannequins, to provoke questions such as, 'Can there be a blueprint for the human body?'"--Joanna Critchlow

I'm fascinated by the dynamics of masking and unmasking, to be literal; the faces we wear and why and when and how we wear them. I have several I think, as do many of us. Sometimes we all want to be unrecognizable, a deliberate riddle or barely concealed as if wearing wax. I'd been feeling a little constricted recently by my own ideas of meaning and relevance. I had forgotten the advice I read in a Marie Claire magazine (I think) when I was probably 15, "Do what you love and the rest comes." I focussed externally, on what I thought I was being perceived as and not on finding my voice. That's not usual for me and I was, for a while, pretty annoyed with myself. I received an email today from someone who has not only encouraged me before but who made me realise why I want to do this. I have to do, the rest is there, coming. I'm looking in and jumping out--Brianna McCarthy

BOTH artists are in conversation on Saturday night at ALICE YARD.


This coffee table holds up the room

FIND out more about this work, part of a current exhibition, here.

READ an essay by Christopher Cozier here. ("Oliver is is co-opting spaces: redirecting their purposes, altering within her created moments our experience of the familiar".)

A BIOGRAPHY of the artist, Karyn Oliver, is here.

SEE a previous post on Oliver hereAND read an essay by Nicholas Laughlin on one of her works at the Caribbean Review of Books here.


'Magic is your strength'

Photo courtesy Caribbean Beat/Wendell McShine

FROM this month's Caribbean Beat.

“Making art accessible is very important for me,” Wendell McShine explains. This is why he returned home to Trinidad in 2009 to run the Arts Project in the town of Point Fortin. At these workshops he taught the basics of film production, design, music therapy, animation, and mural-making.

“The mission is to plant seeds of consciousness in our youths through art so that they can live their full potential and bring up their communities. These avenues didn’t exist when I was growing up in the islands. It’s my personal vision to give back to my people.” 

So although Mexico remains McShine’s base (he is married to Mexican-American filmmaker Yadira Alberran and they have a son), the Caribbean is still on his mind, and in his heart. “In a world where change is upon us,” he wrote in his blog, “the only truth is the holograms of the imagination. My brothers in Haiti, hold on. Magic is your strength.”

Wendell McShine’s blog is at: 


Falling Bough

FLASH REVIEW: Green Lantern is whack!

Seriously. All those hot pink aliens. Ryan Reynolds in revealing spandex. Pretty Blake Lively with lipgloss on all through. And some deep philosophical metaphors about free will and fear. Parralax looked wicked, and there was something profound about the lantern discovering that he had to conquer his own fears (of what, relationships? latex? commitment? love? life? all of the above!)

* * * * STARS

POETRY: Ramlochan, Hutchinson

Do not forget the dead.
They sit at your table to stave off
food poisoning; they have caught
your infant from the clutches of a fumbling man.
You are poised in every instant
over the fertile graves of millions.
will erase your mother’s smile, the gate swinging open
as you step off the school bus, the tug in your chest a sea swell
as you swim always towards your first love

>>>FROM 'Good Names for Three Children' by Shivanee Ramlochan at tongues of the ocean.

This fixed gulf disturbs nothing, only rain
lances dead leaves on the stairs to offer
welcome, the furniture alert for occupancy,
a mirror magnifies itself, an envelope’s
torn, skull-grin on the dark desk.
The kitchen has not recovered since a saucer
fell, bursting mica, its calligraphy reads 

>>>FROM 'Thunder in April' by Ishion Hutchinson at Guernica.

Marian Anderson, Élégie (Massenet)

Photo by Carl Van Vechten, 1940