As we wrote in earlier posts, a special and new feature of the Jamaica Biennial 2014 is that we invited six international artists to participate with special projects. Here is our second post on the subject, on Sheena Rose (Barbados) and James Cooper (Bermuda).
Sheena Rose was born in 1985 in Barbados. She has a BFA from the Barbados Community College and she was recently awarded the Fulbright Scholarship to pursue her MFA in Studio Art at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Rose’s work comprises hand drawn animation, combined with photographs, mixed media, transfers and comic strips. The animations have a surreal quality and deal with the daily life, space and stereotypes of her country.
Rose’s work has been exhibited widely, including at Alice Yard, Port of Spain, Trinidad; Real Art Ways, Hartford Connecticut; the Queens Museum, New York; the Havana Biennial; the Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, D.C, Greatmore Art Studios, Cape Town; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Puerto Rico; the Aruba Biennial; and the Panama Biennial del Sur. Rose’s work is also featured on two book covers: of See Me Here, which was published by Robert & Christopher Publishers in Trinidad, and Small Axe. She is the founder of an art group called Projects and Space, which organized public art projects.
Rose has the following to say about her work: “My work entails drawing and hand drawn animations but I explore my concept using with different media such as performance, installation, painting to also help portray my ideas. My work is about sharing my experiences of living in the Caribbean, daily situations, urban spaces, youth and popular culture as well about challenging stereotypes. As a young artist from the Caribbean, my travels have allowed me to see what is familiar and unfamiliar in various locations. My animated drawings fuse various places I visit and experiences I have encountered such as Cape Town, Cuba, Martinique and many more. Sometimes I experience culture shock from the travels and it influences my work greatly. I share my feelings and experiences of these cultures, urban street life and overheard conversations by integrating these into my work.”
James Cooper, born in 1965, lives in Bermuda with his wife and two children. He studied Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia. His work has been shown and collected internationally, and his photographs published in numerous magazines and books. Recent exhibitions of his work were held at at Alice Yard in Trinidad and at the Ghetto Biennale in Haiti and his work appeared on the cover of Pictures from Paradise, a survey of contemporary Caribbean photography published by Robert & Christopher Publishers in Trinidad. Cooper’s work is photography-based and incorporates elements of sculpture; performance and collage that bring to light explorations of relationships to the physical environment and our relationship to art itself.
Allison Harbin in ARC Magazine, describes the development of his work as follows: “His early work is almost entirely underwater, in which figures are swimming with horse masks, or floating serenely over a coral bed while tied to a dozen red cubes. He also depicts his figures surrounded by billowing underwater clouds of sand, spray paint, or colored liquid. Influenced by Japanese flower arrangements, called Ikebana, his above-water still-lives flirt with the fantastic just as much as they show off their mundane and everyday components; a still life of knives jutting out of an old shoe, a palm tree decorated with balloons, or coral wrapped in brightly colored string. Cooper’s most recent sculptural project in Haiti takes a minimalist and brightly colored aesthetic of lines and cubes and inserts them in the damaged buildings of Port Au Prince, literally re-building Haiti through art.”
Presently, James is interested in the concept of radical calmness, based on a desire to slow down the process of seeing as it relates to both making and observing art. For Jamaica he will be presenting photographs shown as large scale installation. The images are from a project that documents a series of fictitious performances he calls Communicating With Nature and will be shown in multiple free standing sections. His work will be shown at Devon House.