Art Exhibition: Che Lovelace’s “Bathers”

Trinidadian artist Che Lovelace’s “Bathers” is on view until April 22, 2023, at Nicholas Vassell (located at 138 Tenth Avenue, New York, New York, 10011).

Description: With an expressionistic hand, Lovelace weaves stories of life, freedom, and post-colonialism in his native Trinidad, into a tapestry of abstracted landscapes, still lifes, and portraits. His creative process is expository and expansive, articulating scenes of Caribbean life with complexity and dimension.

Meditating on famed depictions of bathers throughout the art historical canon, Lovelace was particularly fascinated by artists who were lesser known for the subject. One such, Edvard Munch, rendered bathers with energy and “vitalism”, a philosophy germinated from Aristotelian times that emphasized the vital forces of nature and good health. Framing this immemorial trope in the specificity of his own culture, Lovelace celebrates the bather as an intrinsic figure of the Trinidadian vernacular. Throughout the Caribbean, the river is a site for both daily routine and sacred work. In each painting, he portrays the bather as a vessel of duality: echoing the classical and the contemporary, the West and the Tropics, the solitary and the communal, the Christian baptism and Yemanja of the Orisha faith. “I am aligning myself with tradition, but I am also trying to clear a new space for how one can interpret bathers,” he reflects, “I felt there was a sense of familiarity with the term.” [. . .]

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[Shown above: “Climbing Figure above Bathers,” 2016-2022.]

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