Gallery roundup (July/August 2006)

A roundup of exciting exhibitions at museums and galleries from Guyana to Jamaica to New York

Cockfight (1983) by Héctor Méndez Caratini. Image courtesy El Museo Del BarrioFrom the Shadows series (2005-6) by Stanley Greaves. Image courtesy Stanley Greaves/Zemicon GalleryFrom the Shadows series (2005-6) by Stanley Greaves. Image courtesy Stanley Greaves/Zemicon GalleryMask of St James the Apostle, Loíza (1980), by Héctor Méndez Caratini. Image courtesy El Museo Del Barrio

Stanley Greaves: Shadows Move Among Them

Zemicon Gallery, Barbados

Dedicated to the late writer Edgar Mittelholzer, this new series of paintings by the artist Stanley Greaves — who has lived in Barbados since 1987 — is premised on the idea that life in the Caribbean is “two-dimensional”; as Greaves puts it, “Except for a few gifted individuals who have occupied real space — José Martí, L’Ouverture, Constantine, Carter, Sparrow — the rest of us are drifting on the surface of existence as in some gigantic Sargasso. We have become like shadows of clouds that come and go.” As always with Greaves, the complexity of the metaphysical underpinnings is matched by technical mastery, and these paintings of mysterious locations inhabited by beings reduced to black shadows will rightly trouble their viewers’ complacencies.
Opens July 2

Intuitives III

National Gallery of Jamaica

Since the landmark Intuitive Eye show at the National Gallery of Jamaica in 1979, the term “intuitives”, used to describe those artists without formal training and often inspired by religious movements like Rastafarianism or Revivalism, has decisively entered the art history lexicon of the Caribbean, even as some critics debate the political, historical, and even economic consequences of the label. Intuitives III, curated by the National Gallery’s curator emeritus David Boxer — who also organised the original Intuitive Eye, and is credited with inventing the word, as an alternative to “primitive” — is a survey of work by these artists since the follow-up Intuitives show of 1987. It is almost guaranteed to be as fascinating as it will be controversial.
July 23 to October 28

Héctor Méndez Caratini: The Eye of Memory: Three Decades, 1974–2003

El Museo del Barrio, New York City

Héctor Méndez Caratini has been called the unofficial national photographer of Puerto Rico; he has documented everything from folklore and street festivals to petroglyphs and flora to more controversial subjects, such as the impact of bombing tests on Vieques and portraits of formerly imprisoned independence activists. This retrospective, curated by Ricardo Viera of the Lehigh University Art Galleries, opened at El Museo de Arte in San Juan and has now made its way to El Museo del Barrio, the Manhattan institution devoted to the arts of Latin America and the Caribbean, where the photographs are installed alongside masks and other folk art objects from the museum’s collection, creating a sort of dialogue between image, object, and viewer.
June 10 to September 10

Green Land of Guyana

National Gallery of Guyana

Every year, the National Gallery of Guyana at Castellani House organises an important show of works from its permanent collection to coincide with the anniversary of Independence. Green Land of Guyana, the 2006 version, takes its title from a line of the national anthem; it is also the title of a painting by the late artist Cyril Kanhai. Curated by the gallery’s director, Elfrieda Bissember, the show explores the ways that Guyanese artists have portrayed and understood the country’s vast, varied, and often bewildering landscapes, both physical and imaginative. It includes rarely seen works by figures like Hubert Moshett, R.G. Sharples, and E.R. Burrowes, who came of age in the 1940s, and more recent works by masters Aubrey Williams and Stanley Greaves.
May 18 to 29 July

NE3

National Art Gallery of the Bahamas

The third National Juried Exhibition at the Bahamas National Art Gallery is a major survey of the Bahamas contemporary art scene in the last two years. These works — ranging through all media, from paintings to installations — are selected by a jury headed by curator Erica James.
July 6 to 31 January, 2007