ARC Dismantles Barriers, Recognizes the Avant-Garde

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Shivanee Ramlochan (The Guardian) reviews ARC Magazine, which released its 8th issue last month, highlighting that the publication dismantles barriers against artistic expression, recognizes Avant-Garde creativity, and showcases emerging and established artists alike. Here are excerpts with a link to the full review below:

In its eighth issue, released in November 2013, ARC Magazine helms the hungry quest for avant-garde creative expression. This on its own would not be so remarkable, if ARC weren’t dually invested in a rigorous and meaningful critique of the art it seeks to showcase. ARC stands for “Art, Recognition, Culture,” and as editor-in-chief, Holly Bynoe reminds the reader in her introductory note, the publication has always been interested in dismantling barriers against artistic freedoms. [. . .] The magazine’s “Spotlight” section, which functions, structurally, as a prelude to the lengthier segments of the layout, lends support to “unrepresented and under-established artists who are engaging with their inspirations.”

This issue’s Spotlight is focused on two budding practitioners, one of whom is the Trinidadian Portia Subran. Her piece, entitled Expulsion 1, is an intricate hand-detailed construction, using micron pens on Strathmore paper. Angelika Wallace-Whitfield, the second Spotlight artist, hails from the Bahamas. She presents a piece called Animalistic II, an acrylic on canvas rendition of a figure, bearing an elephant’s head and a nude woman’s body. From nascent artistic voices to prominent figures in the Caribbean and its diaspora, ARC’s purview is generous in this issue. T&T art enthusiasts will perhaps delight to see their compatriots’ contributions so well framed. The issue’s featured artist is Trinidadian Christopher Cozier, who was recently awarded a Prince Claus Award for 2013, for the scope and dedication of his influence to broadening the spectrum of Caribbean arts. Literary scholar Marta Fernandez Campa provides a series of keen and commendably researched investigations on Cozier’s constantly-morphing installation Tropical Night.

Tropical Night consists of a series of artist’s drawings, to which Cozier frequently adds new works while simultaneously changing the rotational order in which these images are arranged. The images of Tropical Night are affixed to museum and gallery walls with pushpins. A peera (large wooden bench) is positioned before the drawings, providing an invitational space for viewers to sit and immerse themselves in the work. Describing the visual intricacies of the installation, Campa writes, “Inverted podiums and peeras, palm fronds, cake slices or a silhouette of the Red House […] appear and reappear, often placed upon human bodies, pressing on individuals’ heads or limbs, transmitting a sense of constriction or a certain weight.” Campa also pays attention to a central motif in Caribbean architecture and Cozier’s oeuvre: the concrete breeze block. The multiple creative interpretations that surround the breeze block’s use are what matters to Cozier, as the artist says, “This project is not about nostalgia. This is about how this tropical ventilation of breeze-bricks represents a moment of hope and possibility that we all share.”

In the issue’s 24 fps section, devoted to “a survey of established and experimental film and video works, cultural scholar Marsha Pearce (who is a regular Sunday Arts Section contributor) interrogates the many avenues through which the work of Jamaican artist Olivia McGilchrist. [. . .] Pearce details the parameters of Gilchrist’s Sudden White piece, a performance that sees the artist embody her alter ego, “Whitey,” with the use of a white mask. As Pearce explains, Whitey “acts as a mechanism for addressing issues of her own identity in relation to her tropical birthplace.” Spanning traditional, paint-on-paper formats, and leaping eagerly towards the most current and unconventional presentations in art, ARC continues to push hard against tidy boundaries. [. . .]

For full review, see http://www.guardian.co.tt/book-club/2013-12-01/arc-dismantles-barriers-recognises-avant-garde

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