Explorations 3: Seven Women Artists – Berette Macaulay

Berette Macaulay - (CrowDED) (2009)

Berette Macaulay – Anishka (CrowDED) (2009)

The Explorations 3: Seven Women Artists exhibition opens tomorrow, Sunday, May 31. Here is another text panel from the exhibition:

Bio
Born in Sierra Leone, Berette Macaulay grew up in Jamaica while also spending considerable time in the UK. She obtained her BA degree in Theatre from Marymount Manhattan College, New York, and now lives and works in New York.

About the Work

The search for personal identity, selfhood and belonging is at the heart of the photography and multimedia work of BeretteMacaulay. She not only explores traditional analogue and digital photography but also uses various experimental techniques, such as Polaroid image transfers and chemical manipulation. Using these techniques, Macaulay has produced several seemingly divergent bodies of work, such as the CrowDED, Neue Rootz and, most recently, the ongoing ReKONstruction: Differentiated Possibility series. The haunting, turbulent images in CrowDed speak to overcoming personal trauma; the drive to resolve those histories and its relationship to the construction, reconstruction and establishment of family ties is seen in her Neue Rootz series, which explore her family’s African, Central European and Caribbean connections. Her most recent series, ReKONstruction, in turn, embodies her preoccupation with mythology and the power of memory, to speak about evolution and personal growth. While the work may seem divergent, there is an inner logic that pulls it all together into a complex exploratory narrative about personal history and resolution.

O’Neil Lawrence, Exhibition Curator

Berette Macauley - Lisa (Neue Roots) (2013)

Berette Macauley – Lisa (Neue Roots) (2013)

About Women’s Art

“As a West African and Jamaican artist deeply influenced by these matters via my family’s cultural and vocational background, I see the reflection of ‘women’s issues’ in the arts quite clearly. Historically black women have been pressed to appease the fears, burdens, and shame of others, to supply an endless source of nurturing for everyone’s children, and to be the pastime pleasure of our leaders. In Jamaican art, women are used as subjects to be admired, examined, sexualized, or celebrated as mysterious creatures empowered only with the ability to bear life. Women are almost promiscuously present in the arts, but we have not been agents of this influence.”

“The ways in which this can be addressed scale the spectrum of policy, legislature, advocacy, documentary, and creative fields. While I can see through all these lenses, I am using mythological tales from transcontinental influences to find a common root, a universal idea, a single memory that binds us back together. The forgetful space in which we reside globally that allows abuse and violent neglect of women is ready to be filled by our contemporary creative warriors. This is the
ultimate feminine power – irrespective of nation or realm.”

Berette Macaulay

Berette Macaulay - We Connect at the Root of a Beautiful Catastrophe (2012)

Berette Macaulay – We Connect at the Root of a Beautiful Catastrophe (2012)

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Coming Up – Explorations 3: Seven Women Artists

The Explorations III: Seven Women Artists exhibition, which will open at the NGJ on Sunday, May 31, asks the question whether any concept of women’s art is relevant in Jamaica today – it is part of our Explorations series, which examines the big themes and issues in Jamaican art, the first of which was Natural Histories (2013) and the second: Religion and Spirituality in Jamaican art.

Seven Women Artists, which is curated by Senior Curator O’Neil Lawrence, features the work of seven mid-career female artists who live in Jamaica or art part of its diaspora and who work in a variety of media: Jasmine Thomas-Girvan, Judith Salmon, Miriam Smith, Prudence Lovell, Kereina Chang-Fatt, Berette Macaulay and Amy Laskin – a small but representative sample of accomplished female Jamaican artists. We invite viewers to explore whether there are any commonalities that set these artists’ work and careers apart from those of their male counterparts and whether there is any justification to label them, individually or collectively, as “women artists,” or their work as “women’s art.” We have also asked each of the artists to produce a statement on the subject that will be reproduced in the catalogue and the exhibition text panels.

Jasmine Thomas-Girvan - None but Ourselves (2015)

Jasmine Thomas-Girvan – None but Ourselves (2015)

The sculptural and sometimes wearable work of jeweller Jasmine Thomas-Girvan explores the complexities of Jamaican and Caribbean histories as well as the cultural implications of those histories.    Her spectacularly surreal assemblages often employ or are inspired by naturally occurring plant matter and oftentimes actively utilise found objects that have a personal resonance with the artist. Her work None but Ourselves references the intellectual legacy of Marcus Garvey highlighting the importance of the transmission of liberating values to the next generation.

Judith Salmon - Pockets of Memory (2012)

Judith Salmon – Pockets of Memory (2012)

The dynamics of memory are at the heart of the installation and assemblage work of Judith Salmon. Salmon who creates work that has, in some instances, involved an element of interactivity for instance Pockets of Memory (which invited viewers to leave notes or other things that had personal significance and made the audience a part of the creative process) explores the way in which memories are preserved obscured or lost over time. She utilises fibre, wax and various printmaking techniques to create work that contains multiple conceptual and also physical layers.

Miriam Smith - Justice Denied (2014)

Miriam Smith – Justice Denied (2014)

Miriam Smith is known for her mixed media artwork prioritised by her manipulation of fibres and textiles. Her work also reflects her experience of bookbinding, some in the form of actual books are often symbolic pages weaving a personal history that highlights life changing experiences but is also at its heart very much concerned with historical and contemporary social injustices. The multi-panelled work Justice Denied…1600 and Still Counting reflects that focus and challenges the viewer to do the same.

Prudence Lovell - Untitled (Connected III) (2015)

Prudence Lovell – Untitled (Connected III) (2015)

Prudence Lovell, an artist who’s widely ranging concerns coalesce in a number of stunning drawings and collages. To paraphrase her own words Lovell explores ‘the history and potential for allusion’ found in art as well as the various ‘truths’ found in documentary images. The ambiguities and disjunctions that occur due to the immediacy of photographic and other digital imagery and seeming reliability of these images and the often result in a rupture between perception and reality. Her most recent work, such as Untitled (Connected II), is based on Skype conversations with her children, who are studying overseas, and address the moderated reality of online connections, in terms of the ambiguities of the simultaneous experiences and realities of proximity and distance. Continue reading

2010 National Biennial Artists Talk: Photography

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Join us for a discussion with Petrona Morrison, Storm Saulter, Berette Macauley and Shanti Persaud on their photography-based work and the increasingly important role of photography in contemporary art practice.

This will be the first of two panel discussions relevant to the 2010 National Biennial. The second will be held on Tuesday, February 15 and will explore the use of conventional art media and formats in contemporary art.

2010 National Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition – Viewer’s Vote Winners

Berette Macauley, winner of the Claro Viewers’ Vote, and David Sykes, winner of the TEF Viewers’ Vote

The National Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition, our annual collaboration with the JCDC, not only attracts medals and sectional prizes but also allows members of the public to cast their vote. Until last year, there was a single Viewer’s Vote, cast by means of paper ballots. This year, for the first time, there were two Viewer’s Votes: one for the medal winners, sponsored by Claro and operated with text voting; the second for the remaining works in the exhibition, sponsored by the Tourism Enhancement Fund and which uses the conventional ballot voting method. Continue reading