Oltramarino explores nature’s richness

The first major art exhibition of the new year will see Zoe Blount, one of Cayman’s highest-rated artists, show a selection of her most atmospheric paintings at Sapphire Lounge on Wednesday, 2 January.

Ms Blount, a much admired abstract painter, presents ‘Oltramarino – From Beyond The Seas’ at Sapphire Lounge, Seven Mile Shops, a press release said.

The opening night of the exhibition will be held on 2 January from 7pm to 9pm. The show is due to run until the end of February 2008.

For Ms Blount, the show represents the latest venture in her busy calendar. She is already the resident artist at EQ3 at Noah’s Ark, a sophisticated furniture dealership connected to popular children’s retailer Noah’s Ark in Pasadora Place off Smith Road, George Town.

Now, with ‘Oltramarino – From Beyond The Seas’, she will display works that capture the various blue shades of the waters surrounding Cayman.

‘I have been inspired by the word ‘oltramarino’, which means ‘across the seas’ and which also evokes ‘ultramarine’, one of my favourite colours,’ says the artist, who has lived in Grand Cayman since 2003. ‘The word also speaks to my own personal journey that has brought me from an English town to these beautiful shores of the Caribbean.’

The uplifting theme of Ms Blount’s blue-hued Sapphire Lounge exhibition reflects the artist’s personal and professional philosophy. ‘I think it was Picasso who once said that the purpose of art is to ‘wash the daily dust of life from our souls’. I could not agree more,’ she says. ‘Through my brushstrokes, I hope to be able to transport us all to a Utopia that sums up nature’s richness, vitality and colour.’

Born in Manchester, UK, and trained at one of England’s most respected fine art colleges, Ms Blount has gone on to develop a unique style during more than 15 years of exhibitions and commissions around Europe and the United States as well as the Cayman Islands.

She incorporates acrylic, oil and watercolour on everything from canvas to driftwood and other found objects.

Popular overseas, she is also recognised as one of the most exciting of a young crop of artists based in the Cayman Islands. A measure of her success is that so many of her characteristically bright and colourful works already adorn the walls of homes and offices in Grand Cayman.

Her style ranges between abstract and impressionist, depending on her mood and what she is creating. ‘People often ask me how long I took to paint something. I always want to reply, ‘all my life,” she says.

In 2006, she left Cayman for about 10 months, hitting the open road in the US and Europe, a challenging journey that provoked many new sources of inspiration.

Her work since returning to Cayman in the spring of 2007 has combined elements of her US and Cayman experiences: the rich warm reds and dark browns belong to landscapes she saw in the US, while the cool blues, greens and turquoises that characterise her Sapphire show reflect Cayman’s stunning seascapes.

While she has travelled far and wide in a career that has also included shows in the Far East, Ms Blount still regards Cayman as ‘home’ and remains enthusiastic about the amount of activity among artists here.

‘The Cayman art scene is really exciting and vibrant,’ she says. ‘There is so much variety, and there are artists from all over the world here, and so many different venues for art, all in such a small space, it is really inspiring.’

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