Art Exhibition: Hew Locke’s “The Wine Dark Sea”


[Many thanks for Ebony G. Patterson for sharing this item.] “The Wine Dark Sea,” a solo show by Anglo-Guyanese artist Hew Locke, has been extended for two weeks until April 13, 2016. “The Wine Dark Sea” is on view at Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art, at 37 West 57th Street, New York. [Also see previous post “Hew Locke’s Artful Flotilla Drops Anchor in New York”: Review of The Wine Dark Sea.]

Locke’s first solo New York exhibition derives its title from Homer’s The Odyssey to describe the Mediterranean Sea—“But even so I wish and long day by day to reach my home and to see the day of my return. And if again some god shall smite me on the wine-dark sea, I will endure it, having in my breast a heart that endures affliction. For ere this I have suffered much and toiled much amid the waves and in war; let this also be added unto that” (Homer, The Odyssey, translation by A.T. Murray)—a phrase echoed by Caribbean poet Derek Walcott in Omeros.

Description (excerpts from Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art): Edward Tyler Nahem is pleased to present Hew Locke’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. The Anglo-Guyanese artist who lives in Great Britain and spent his formative years in Guyana, consistently explores themes of race, colonialism, displacement, the creation of cultures, and the visual codes of power, drawing on a deeply personal visual language.

Hew Locke: The Wine Dark Sea will present new works by the artist that highlight Locke’s acclaimed sculptures of boats, which occupy an important place in his personal iconography. ‘The wine dark sea’ is a description of the Mediterranean used by Homer throughout The Odyssey, and the phrase is repeated by Derek Walcott in his epic poem Omeros set mainly in the Caribbean, and referencing characters from The Iliad. Locke’s visual poem likewise points up the universality of many of our experiences.

This new series of thirty-five vessels of varied scale and hues will be suspended from the ceiling, creating a flotilla at eye level. Incorporating contemporary and historically resonant vessels – clippers and container ships, battleships and lifeboats – Locke will create a spectacular sculptural environment. Locke’s work articulates this environment as filled with hope, potential prosperity and gratification, as well as despair, anguish, and suffering. This narrative resonates deeply with the tides of refugees fleeing to the sea from war, oppression, and poverty, but also with those viewers for whom migration and displacement are part of family history. A ship is a symbolic object; vessel of the soul, means of escape, both safety and danger. According to Locke, “We’re all floating on the same ocean. As a child and young man I sailed the Atlantic. At sea, a twist of fate can send a super-yacht down – it can be an equalizer between rich and poor.” [. . .]

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