Through Lazarus’ eyes

Maureen
Lazarus has been chosen by the Visual Arts Society as Cayman Featured Artist of
the season.

Her show’s opening reception Thursday, 15 April, 6 –
8pm. The exhibition at Watler House, Pedro Castle continues Saturday, 17 April,
1-4 pm and Sunday, 18, 2 – 5 pm. Admission is free.

 “I am about Caribbean Art,” declared Maureen Lazarus, the Jamaican-born,
Cayman-based artist, and the third person to be selected as the Visual Arts Society
of Cayman Featured Artist of the season. 
A look at her body of work, both past and present, is a testament to
this statement.

No
stranger to the local arts scene, the award-winning artist earned a teaching
diploma from St. Joseph’s Teacher’s College in Kingston, Jamaica and spent four
years studying at the Edna Manley School of Visual Arts. 

Over
the next 20 years, Maureen completed huge billboards for a number of corporate
companies in Jamaica as well as commissions for private homes, drawing upon the
natural landscapes of the Caribbean that surrounded her. 

She
arrived in Cayman in 2000, and quickly established herself through her
paintings of Cayman landscapes, and in 2003, won the Grand Old House Prize for
her painting of the historic restaurant, the mural of which was bought and is
showcased by the South Sound restaurant.

In
2006, an exhibition entitled Sea Grape Series won Maureen critical and popular
acclaim, and to many on the island, she is best known by the sea grape motif.

For
her newest show at the VAS, the signature motif is again on display, but represented
in a bold and exciting 3-D manner. 
Working from her house, Maureen is inspired by the views from her
bedroom.  With windows open, she paints
both day and night, by natural light and lamp. The abundance of grapetrees and
breadfruit trees, which literally envelope her room from the outside, are
extended indoors through Maureen’s talented eye.

Some
of her works are free-standing 3-D hanging sculptures, while others are mounted
on canvas.  Both styles are vivid and
offer projections of dangling balls, leaves and branches.  To create these eye-catching works, Maureen
creates her own recycled paper using daily editions of the Cayman Compass.

 Employing a papier-mâché technique, Maureen
applies semi-gloss, water-based paint and glue on layers of newspaper, until
she has achieved her desired, compressed canvas.  She then moulds and sculpts the paper into
their plant-life shapes. For the thicker branches in some of her works, Maureen
will also incorporate pieces of traditional cloth canvas, all of which are
painted in vibrant acrylics for the finished result.

15
of these arresting works will be displayed in the VAS show, in the Watler House
at Pedro Castle said Visual Arts Chairman Dora Williams. “[Her newest works] are
exciting pieces with lots of colour, texture and shape and will appeal to
people of ages.  It is an exhibit that
shouldn’t be missed.”

The
opening night reception, where visitors can meet the artist and view the Featured
Artist Exhibition is Thursday, 15 April, from 6-8pm. The show continues on
Saturday, 17 April, from 1-4pm and Sunday afternoon from 2-5pm. Admission is
free.

For
more information, visit the society’s website at visualartcayman.com.

FEATLazaraseyesSTORY

Artist Maureen Lazarus works on The flower is Showing from Beauty to Ashes painted on recycled Caymanian Compass paper.
Photo: Submitted
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