New exhibit at The Ritz-Carlton’s Gallery
Finding inspiration in the Cayman Islands is easy. How artists interpret or incorporate their inspiration in works of varying mediums is another matter altogether.
That, essentially, is the beauty of the artwork represented in Summer Blossoms, an exhibit that opens Wednesday, 3 August, at the Gallery at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
“My personal inspiration comes from nature,” says Rachelle Rivers, one of 15 local artists featured in the exhibit. “All of the pieces I have entered will reflect this theme whether realistically or surreal.”
While Rivers’ favourite medium is acrylics – which she used for the three paintings in this exhibit – she has experimented with a variety of techniques, including digital photography, textured collages and oil painting.
The natural environment – particularly the sea – is the inspiration for Kerwin Ebanks, who primarily works in oils and acrylics. The four paintings he has on display at the Gallery all reflect varying techniques of acrylic.
“When planning paintings for Summer Blossoms it came naturally to continue along this trend [the sea],” he says. “All of these pieces have the underlying current of the immensity of the sea, not just the need to be cautious, but the many possibilities for enjoyment.”
Speaking of enjoyment, Ebanks wholeheartedly endorses the venue, not only as a premier space for the artist but also in accommodating visitors.
“I look forward to exhibiting at The Ritz Carlton again this year,” he says. “The Gallery is truly the Islands’ best offering in terms of space, lighting and audience.”
‘Back to my roots’
Getting back to basics, from childhood memories, sparked Gordon Solomon’s creative energy for this exhibit.
“Back to my roots”, says the artist, who has three oil on canvas paintings in the exhibit. He fondly remembers experiences of his youth, “getting out of school and spending summer days on end at the beach playing and fishing was the norm for me in my ‘tween years. Those times are very much recalled in this new series, Fishin’ for the Past, all labelled in Caymanian dialect.”
And like Ebanks, he praises the public accessibility of the Gallery.
For artist Christel Ibsen, family roots were a major influence for her entries in the exhibit.
“The paintings I chose for Summer Blossoms are special to me as they are, in a sense, a family affair,” she says. “My brother Thomas Ibsen [who lives in Denmark] and my daughter-in-law Sarah Millet [who lives in Philadelphia, USA] are both talented photographers. While vacationing in the Caymans this winter, they graciously worked with me on photographing close-up blossoms and foliage to use for the Blossom show.”
Ibsen, who works in many mediums, including fresco, charcoal, pastel, oil and acrylics, says, “Cayman is a place where, for me as an artist, the colours become richer, the lines more sensual and slow…The heat rises…The summer sunsets explode with vibrant, golden glows. The mood is exotic…the air is fragrant with sumptuous blossoms and lush foliage.”
The three paintings she has in this show are mixed media, oil, acrylic and compound on board and canvas.
“I experimented with expanding existing art forms using whatever techniques that inspire me and help me achieve the final image I seek to express,” says Ibsen. “Currently, I am especially fascinated by the possibilities of combining the two art forms of photography and paint, exploring the added strength each medium brings to the final piece of art … when should the photo stay alone, when should paint be added sparingly … when should only the motif be used.
“Through The Ritz exhibitions, my client base has expanded to countries all over the world. This has inspired me to expand my motifs and subject matter in a way that would appeal to this large and sophisticated group,” she adds.
Ibsen also acknowledges the creative advice and support of Gallery curator Chris Christian, which “stimulate me to explore new dimensions.
“Finally,” she notes, there is the added aspect of “the elegance and dignity of The Ritz …[The Gallery] is a unique space in which to have my art exhibited.”
Renate Seffer, who works in acrylics, has eight pieces of varying sizes in the exhibit. Her enthusiasm spills out as she describes her work for this show, which she says, “celebrates the magic and simplicity of everyday life with whimsical images inspired by local scenes, human interaction and the ever-changing colours of the Cayman landscape – images that bring out the inner child in all of us and express the giddy happiness of being alive.”
Additionally, her enthusiasm extends to the venue itself:
“It’s amazing exposure for artists as it always gets a good constant flow of traffic from visitors to residents alike.”
The Summer Blossoms exhibit runs through Saturday, 29 October.