Curated by Jodi Minnis, “FIVE” will be on view at TERN Gallery (in Nassau, The Bahamas) from July 28 to August 27, 2022. This exhibition supports the work of five emerging Bahamian artists, Brent Fox, Amaani Hepburn, Dyah Neilson, Matthew Rahming, and Keith Thompson.
Description: This exhibition aims to highlight the work of painters, sculptors, and printmakers whose work expands and defies our ideas of “island-life” and pushes our understanding of the limitations of visibility. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, July 28 at 7:00pm.
Ranging from realism to abstraction, the works in this exhibition reflect the artists’ developing practices and experimentations. It also seeks to unearth this grouping’s experiential intersection in a space where most Bahamians are either invisible or hyper-visible in relation to the brand of tropicality that The Bahamas exists in.
Working primarily in acrylic paint, Dyah Neilson (she/her) often uses imagery of flora and fauna indigenous to The Bahamas in sly and often opaque ways. Neilson’s symbolism holds personal meanings which “explore the complexities of spirituality, relationships and femininity.” The beautifully rendered paintings lull the viewer in while holding space for Neilson’s coded compositions. Brent Fox’s (they/them) practice is honest and tender in its offering to the viewer. Fox is a multi-media artist working primarily in drawing, painting and photography. In this exhibition, their charcoal renderings of abstracted figures display a confidence in mark-making and intuitive channeling of energy into the work. Though these pieces are experimental, its sensitivity is seen throughout the breath of Fox’s budding practice. Thematically, Fox centers ideas of intimacy and masculinity.
Amaani Hepurn (she/her) is an oil painter who renders her immediate environment, the relics, fauna, flora, and people in those spaces. In contrast to Fox’s practice, Hepburn’s practice “uses the matriarch as a lens for exploring her community and re-examing her own femme identity.” Hepburn’s broad brush-strokes create a vibrancy in her intimate under-paintings. The decision to “leave things bare” while relaying scenes of her immediate environment creates a direct path for connection and nostalgia to the audience. The objects within the space carry personality and visible history that is common in Caribbean yards. This tenderness, intimacy and rigor is apparent in the work of Matthew Rahming. Rahming (he/him) is an interdisciplinary artist who uses everyday materials like paper, concrete, rope and clay to craft works of contemplation. Rahming’s practice calls forth discussions on “agency, identity, conflict, tenderness, and Bahamian ethnography” while demanding an understanding of duality. His black and white mono-type prints ebb and flow between dense and textural embossments of fiber to visceral and minimal moments.
Like Rahming, Keith Thompson (he/him) tethers moments of vulnerability, tenderness, and demands nuance and contemplation. Thompson’s tightly rendered paintings broach his experience “growing up in a neighbourhood rife with crime and gang-culture. His portraits and self-portraits exercise his own dread of easily falling into criminality.” This personal history coupled with traversing an “elitist” industry such as the art world inspired this new body of work.
Together, these five artists represent different facets of Nassuvian life, the honesty in their practices either directly contradict, expand and one anothers. It is our hope that within these nuanced experiences, a wider understanding of “island-life” is gained. For more information on the exhibition, please email Jodi at email@example.com.
[Shown above: Amaani Hepburn’s “Seated Under Daddy’s Pear Tree I,” 2019. Oil on Acrylic primed paper, 24in x 36in; Keith Thompson’s “Unseen Gallery,” 2022. Acrylic on canvas.]