Wednesday, October 31, 2007

In the Flesh - Roberta Stoddart

The absence of pigmentation

The portrait of these two Negro albinos with three stray dogs is a painting by the Jamaican artist, Roberta Stoddart. Situated somewhere in the Caribbean plains, these studies are composed as if they were photographed while caught by the headlights of a vehicle. The painter has managed to render every detail from the folds in their clothing, to the type of brand shoe, and more pronounced are the pinkish flakes of pigment that reflect the colour of their skin.

As they stand before the viewer, they appear to be rather stark and caustic as if the subjects themselves were mechanically cutout and re-assembled over illuminated blades of grass from the Caroni plains. With this particular painting, as proficient and executed as it is, it lacks the most primal element in art, and that is of beauty or the absence of an emotion. Yet, it is in her work, in the calculation that reveals much more. The subject is of displacement or indifference dwelling on the divisions of ethics and race, black or white. And about loyalty and loneliness, as with the dogs, in seek of love and a home. With Ms.Stoddart, its her own discomfort with herself.

Roberta Stoddart resides in Trinidad and the invite card is privy to her upcoming exhibition of resent works at the National Museum in Port of Spain. Technically, she is one of the finest painters working from Trinidad and Tobago. In the Flesh is the platform to launch her book which catalogues her work and process over the years. With the aid of the photographer Abigail Hadeed, the book has been a task to compile. With slides to restore, and images to adjust, both artists want to ensure that the quality of the reproductions are at the highest standards. The catalogue is being printed internationally and it will reflect in its price when it is launched, 21st, November, 2007 at the National Museum of Trinidad and Tobago.

Invite Card: Stray mongrels with white Negroes, 50 x 46 ins. Oil on linen
In the Flesh, an exhibition of recent works - Roberta Stoddart.
National Museum of Trinidad and Tobago, 22th November till 8th December, 2007.

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