Cayman on Canvas, by Shi Gatsu

The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, announces its second exhibition at The Gallery: Cayman on Canvas, featuring more than 40 pieces by local artists April Bending and Avril Ward, a press release said.

Opening Friday, 17 March 2006, the exhibition centres on pieces featuring the life and energy embodied by Cayman’s pristine waters. The dominant subjects are vibrantly hued fish and sailboats, but the dominant style is abstract rather than realism.

‘In these new paintings, images are subtly revealed through loose layers of gestural abstract strokes,’ said Ms. Bending. ‘The overall effect is a mysterious ambiguity, requiring the viewer to participate by bringing a personal history with which to interpret the piece.

‘In my latest work, I explore the colours and patterns of fish and underwater creatures,’ said Ms. Ward. ‘I started off painting fish heads but got more and more fascinated with detailed close ups of fish eyes and then discovered wonderful patterns and designs in many other sea creatures, star fish, sea slugs and anemones, painting them to the extent of abstraction.

‘Some of these paintings are only recognizable after the titles are revealed.’

Because of the similarity in their first names and active participation in Cayman’s art community, April and Avril are often confused. Rather than resist the association, they opted to collaborate under the whimsical signature Shi Gatsu, which is Japanese for April and Avril.

Their first piece was a joint painting at [email protected]‘s 2005.

The Gallery at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is devoted to promoting the work of Cayman’s artists to some of the world’s most sophisticated travellers and art buyers.

With guidance from The National Gallery, The Gallery puts on four to six shows per year and offers all of the work for sale through the hotel’s retail outlets.

‘We are honoured to feature the work of April Bending and Avril Ward in The Gallery at The Ritz-Carlton,’ said vice president and general manager Jean Cohen. ‘These ladies have such a deep appreciation and understanding of the beauty of the Cayman Islands and our guests will value their figurative visual articulation of what makes this island so magical.’

April Bending

April Bending, a Canadian, received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Alberta in the early seventies. Since then she has worked in various media and has shown her work in galleries across Canada, the USA, Japan and the Cayman Islands. Her work is in collections in Japan, Great Britain, Canada, the USA and the Cayman Islands and can be purchased locally at Kennedy Gallery and Pure Art. Ms. Bending’s last solo exhibition, Surfacing, was held at the Westin resort in December, last year.

Avril Ward

Avril Ward, A South African, started her career in Cape Town. She has shown her work in galleries in South Africa, New York and the Cayman Islands. Her work is in collections in South Africa, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and the Cayman Islands. On Grand Cayman she is represented by the Morgan Gallery, Galleria Plaza. Ms. Ward’s last solo exhibition, Woman, was held at the Westin resort, January.

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