art in all its forms

art in all its forms


Paint the town blue

LIKE THE words in this sentence, the objects in Shane Mohammed's collages build on one another. Individually, each object has performed some function and carries an archive of associations. Yet, exhausted of their use and repurposed they hint at secret narratives. But must there be narrative in art? Even the lack of story is a story. Everything here functions like the words in a poem or the pieces of a stained-glass window.

In a statement accompanying Block and Blue (the title of the show does not do it justice), Mohammed gives us an account of his process:
I collect objects and in admiration use them to tell stories of past and present experiences. They reside in our homes, on our top shelves and below the kitchen sink, in our glass-cased cabinets and among the landfills. 
The objects range from the everyday plastic bottle to the inner workings of an antique clock and everything in between. They are accumulated by the cycle of working, living and satisfying but in this collection they are returned to the cycle as a fuel to the cycle itself. The objects are collected and stored whilst influenced by the process of painting, personal restrictions, ideas of colour and relationships to individual objects.
All of it is beautiful, as if Yves Klein or a jab jab went around Port of Spain picking out things from dustbins. The room is filled with shades of blue, making everything have impact en masse. Individual pieces, as pleasing as they are, feel less audacious. But, as the artist suggests, each piece is destined to be re-constituted as object d'art, in the process opening into an infinite process of creation through collection.

We come away feeling like we've been given access to a person's private hoarding: as though her thoughts were made manifest and laid bare on a circuit board. Block and Blue nobly asks us to question and interrogate the most common things in our lives. It reminds us of the magic that happens when objects no longer have a time and place, when they transcend context. And it makes us wonder about the distinction between animate and inanimate, functional and decorative, bodily and sculptural, between horcruxes and that which they contain.

Block and Blue is on at The Frame Shop, Carlos Street, Woodbrook. Call (868) 628-7508. Show runs until May 12. Saturday opening hours 9am-2pm.

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