Cayman Traditional Arts

Cayman Traditional Arts is currently hosting another new art exhibition at The Gallery of The Ritz-Carlton, featuring a wide selection of local artists who all were given the chance to interpret the theme ‘Emerge’. Art work by Guy Harvey, Courtney Platt, Jo Austin, CE Whitney, John Broad, Cathy Church, Randy Chollette, Mikael Seffer and Chris Christian are all featured in this uplifting exhibition.

Abstract artist emerges

The name Cathy Church is synonymous with stunning underwater photography that has immortalised Cayman’s marine flora and fauna unlike any other artist’s work. The Emerge exhibition has given Cathy the platform to extend her considerable talents even further and, lo and behold, an abstract artist has emerged as a result.

Unveiling 15 abstract photographs at the exhibition, Cathy says she has had great fun taking on this new approach.

“I’ve focused on what the subject looks like, rather than what it actually is. As a result the image no longer looks like the creature it actually is and has taken on a new identity. You end up going well beyond just the look,” she says. “It’s really exciting to hear peoples’ thoughts as to what they are actually looking at. I’m always interested in hearing their interpretation!”

Cathy states that this extension of her work is a natural progression for her. Going beyond the world of the diver, she is now stepping into the world of fine art.

“It’s such fun to experiment,” she confirms. “In truth, a turtle is a turtle, but experimenting with the image can provide really interesting results.”

In order to properly assess how she is going to work with her image, Cathy likes to look extremely carefully at a possible scene, as she explains, “I like to see how things act; how tentacles move, and so on.”
Digital photography has considerable appeal for Cathy when taking photographs in this genre because it allows her considerable flexibility with the end result.

“That’s the difference with digital photography,” she says. “You can make changes that make such a difference to the final result.”

Cathy says she has enjoyed producing abstract photos so much that she intends to take it to an even more intense level.

She states: “There is so much underwater, especially around the reef that lends itself to great art.”

Salt water runs through his veins

As the owner and organiser of Cayman Traditional Arts, Chris Christian is immersed in artistic activity all day long. Even though he is usually busy promoting Caymanian creativity to children, tourists and the public at large as well as hosting great art exhibitions such as Emerge, Chris is also an established artist in his own right. He exhibited a number of paintings at the Emerge exhibition and says his specific pieces evoke pleasant memories of sea-based activities of his youth.

Growing up in Cayman Chris says fishing, swimming and boating played a hugely important part in his formative years. This experience is continually reflected in his artistic endeavours.
“I’m really trying to evoke a feeling in my work rather than a specific image,” he says. “Everything is based on the sea. Even when I paint trees there is a liquidity to them. Salt water runs through my veins!”

Out of his pieces in the Emerge exhibition, four paintings stand out in particular highlighting Chris’s unique style. ‘Emerge’ is a clever symbol of the exhibition as a whole, a hot crimson, yellow and red ode to the emergence of the sun on the horizon, while ‘Embarked’ takes a close look at the skin of a tree and turns it into a tremendously fluid piece, with colours distinct and defined and seemingly dancing around each other. ‘Liquid Flow’ is another example of the artist’s ability to translate his scenery into an impression or feeling while ‘Silver Thatch No 1’ is a stunning depiction of that Caymanian treasure simply bursting with vitality yet still fluid in its movement and design.

Read more about the Emerge artists and their work in next month’s Journal.



Cathy Church with her partner Herb Rafael