The two-hour opening of Moods and Expressions (A Caribbean Sensation) – a three-day art exhibition held at the popular Jamaica Arts Center, in Jamaica Queens, turned out to be an evening of smiles and laughter. Appreciative patrons engaged the artists in deep conversation in a noisy and friendly atmosphere.
Nigel Pierre who displayed a water colour collection of people at Crop Over and on the street agreed:
“It was certainly an evening of conversation, a lot of conversation with serious questions about our work. I think this made for a beautiful and delightful evening. Having people speak about your work and saying how they always liked your water colour paintings was a joy to hear. It was a fantastic opening.”
Pierre, known as Pierre Nigel to his collectors, because that is how he signs his work, further explained: “My pieces speak to the viewer about life in my homeland Barbados; my paintings are designed from photos I take as I move around and about – wherever I am. I study them and then I compose the finished piece using as many photos as I need to. Sometimes it takes a moment or years to finish.”
Carlton Murrell, another Barbadian among the eight artists who showcased an array of oil, pastel and water colour paintings, felt honoured to be asked to be the curator of the exhibition. He displayed three large pieces highlighting Barbados – a beach scene, a chattel house and a boat riding a stormy sea.
Patrons appeared to enjoy a colourful and intricate wall-sized piece – a mosaic visual interpretation of three of Mighty Sparrows suggestive songs, weaved into one conversation of surprises by Trinidadian David Wilson.
“You make me laugh,” one excited female patron was overheard to say as Wilson explained the visual representations of the songs to her.
According to their biographies, both Pierre and Murrell have participated in several solo and group exhibitions, and have been the recipients of several honours and awards in America, Canada and Barbados.
Pierre, a self-taught artist, started art at the tender age of five while attending the Wesley Hall Infant School. Pierre says he can’t remember when he wasn’t drawing, painting and picturing life.
He believes that art is life and life is art and once worked in advertising in Barbados. Pierre is best known among collectors for his images of people, flora and places with watercolour as his first love. His secret: letting paintings artistically speak themselves while reflecting his appreciation for the life and culture.
Murrell immigrated to New York at age 23. He is a prolific and dedicated painter who derives inspiration from his rich past history in Barbados and the Caribbean. He began painting at 18 and is a graduate of the Pels School of Art.
Heavily influenced by the likes of Claude Monet and other European impressionist painters, Murrell’s paintings are characterized by a unique understanding of the effects of light and shadow on colour and composition. His paintings represent both tropical and urban settings, conveying visual messages that allow the viewer to escape into his world.
In related art news, Judy Layne Banks continues to fly the Barbados flag in Kentucky where she works as a teacher. This past summer, for the fourth consecutive year, her Batik work won her another prize at the annual Kentucky State fair.
Walter Edey is an author and retired math and science educator who believes that structural thinking is the new technology of the future.
Email: werus2642 @gmail.com