At a time when Jamaica’ Government seeks to increase the tourism offerings of Kingston, world renowned visual artist Bryan Mcfarlane makes his contribution through his exhibition titled ‘New Beginnings’.
The current exhibition executed by request of hotelier Evan Williams as a launch of the Gene Pearson Gallery at the R-Hotel, also was in honour to Pearson. The R-Hotel is Kingston’s only extended stay corporate Hotel owned and operated by business guru, an award winning architect himself Evan Williams.
Poised to enhance the face lift of the business hub of the metropolitan area, the exhibition breathes fresh perspective on Kingston’s trade through this defined time of the city’s development.
Professor Bryan McFarlane, according to Evan Williams, who unapologetically supports local artists, was chosen as “it was important to have an artist with international exposure.” “Bryan is well known and exposed around the world” said Williams.
Of the works Williams described them as “Brilliant”… “reflecting the influences of his trip to Beijing, China and more.”
Entering the gallery from right to left, one can see the calculated placements of the 13 pieces by curator Dr Jonathon Greenland in realizing his ambition for visual arts tourism in the ‘city’.
The flow of the exhibition is done through reorganizing fragments of other McFarlane series, saving one or two pieces. Yet together they blend to bring you into a new way of thinking, and can be summarized through ‘Like the Weather’ series (2019).
They also reflect how the artist has tapped into his past to face the future.
McFarlane is at a new dawn, but he is not in square one. McFarlane who is of Maroon descent, and a seasoned global traveler to as far as Beijing portrays transatlantic slavery, and colonialism, and he captures holocaust, warfare, criticizing periods of turmoil common to mankind. He then works out the effects on humanity, before escorting viewers to overcoming challenges to glide across rainbows. A firm business plan is at the end.
McFarlane through his art assist the viewer to grasp at linking their strengths for shared success in the ever-changing new world. ‘Bicycle’ (2015) is one work built of fragments, but is not disoriented. Rather through this work he opens one’s mind to embrace endless opportunities resulting from rearranging, reconnecting, readjusting to achieve more, merging trade links for example.
An intelligent colorist, McFarlane’s use of colour is somewhat hinting similarities of the Fauvism movement, and French masters such as Matisse. The application of the colours, somber or vibrant speaks volumes.
Material, colour, thoughts are equal in relevance, and across the room energies are felt exuding from the pieces as McFarlanes moves from grays to vibrant tones, and gesticulates through embodied shapes and lines. The 2016 oil on linen work, ‘Silk Road Entanglement’ is therefore critical to the exhibition here, and pulls you into the idea of trade, even simulated trade. There is a hint of a woman being seductive as she spins this vibrant bundle of coloured thread into the slight shape of an organic vessel, perhaps symbolic of the ease with which one can get caught up in a discussion to end in profitable business deals.
The works evoke hope, passions and puts one in a relaxing, yet focused frame of mind to spur productive thought, moving away from the yesteryear’s besetters. The apple of wrath ‘Eggplant’ is featured in the abstract to remind one of the care that must be taken in forging and preserving new bonds without greed . ‘Silk Road’ (2016), ‘Rain in Beijing’; ‘Nesting’; ‘Love Space’ and the special trilogy connected by moving organic clouds in each piece, are others among the selected 13 noteworthy pieces in oil and watercolours.
So the artist has done well to nest his creative pieces in the wider newest business hotel, for international businesspersons to muse.
Bryan McFarlane has exhibited and lectured as visiting artist at numerous universities and museums throughout the USA, Europe, China, Latin America, Africa, and the Caribbean. His awards include the prestigious Institute of Jamaica “Silver Musgrave Medal” for his contribution to art and education. In 2008 he received a gold medal from the Chinese Government for his entry in the Olympics Fine Arts Exhibition in Beijing.
Anthea McGibbon, a senior writer specializes in featuring the arts and culture of Jamaica through her website www.antheamcgibbon.com.