Saturday, March 25, 2006

At The Fringes Of Our Society - Tessa Alexander

A Snow Cone vendor waits for his customers

Speaking with Tessa Alexander about her work is always as invigorating as looking at the work she does. Her present show, titled Rethinking Landscape, looks at the fringes of our society. Her technique of collage and paint is more aggressive and frenetic than ever, and quite appropriate it for the subject matter. Her work is one of exploration of the technique itself as well as the theme. At first glance she gives one vistas to contemplate with a solitary person placed in the setting. On closer inspection one can deconstruct the image to see her use of layering and her signature spray of dots.

Ms. Alexander’s last show focused on her trip to India and she informed me that many people asked her how she coped with the poverty in India. She found the question quite curious because poverty is very apparent here at home, and she set to work to make her prodigious body of pieces with that burning question in mind. What the viewer will notice about this show as well is the strong use of greens, blues and browns in her colour palette. I have written about the love of landscape painting in Trinidad and Tobago and how tired the theme is.

However Ms. Alexander manages to pump up the theme with images filled with social meaning and she does it in a subtle way. With names like, Parlor, Decaying Past and Snow Cone Vendor, these pieces in particular have a stillness that encourages a deeper contemplation of a picture that many have taken of Caribbean life. Yet here the layering of the papers and the use of colours provide much more. Ms. Alexander creates shadows in her work, lurking forms that fall just shy of the picture plane in some instances, asking the question, are we the benign viewer or is something sinister happening on the fringes.

My sweet shanty home at Sea Lots

Ms. Alexander’s show is one worth seeing. She attempts to go beyond the pretty pictures that meet with approval so often, while exploring the possibilities of such through techniques that she continues to push, test and expand on. - Adele

Rethinking Landscape Tessa Alexander March 21 to April 1, 2006. 20 watermedia / collage works10 ink/collage works Horizon’s Art Gallery, Trinidad and Tobago.

No comments:


Views expressed on thebookmann are not affiliated with any Art Organizations and an “Art Review” may be open to interpretation as it is an observation at face value.

Amendments to such articles if misleading or with grammatical errors shall be corrected accordingly.

All photographs, Feinin studies, accompanying quotes, articles and visual headers appearing on site are the exclusive property of Richard Bolai © 2004 - 2010 All Rights Reserved.

Any fare use is restricted without written permission