The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands is exploring the language of art in its latest exhibition, which opens on Saturday, Sept. 24.
The gallery describes the exhibition, titled “Speak to Me – Understanding the Language of Art,” as an “unusual examination of art as a language and the visual ‘dialects’ we encounter, from paintings of the past to avant-garde artificial intelligence.”
The exhibition, curated by Emé Paschalides and sponsored by the Cayman office of law firm Mourant Ozannes, marks the first time that the gallery will use online interaction with digital art and QR codes, which enable visitors to unlock information using their smartphones.
“This will be an exciting new way for visitors to engage with works of art, learn about artists and experience the National Gallery in a very 21st Century style,” said Mrs. Paschalides.
“The exhibition explores whether art is a language and, if so, how do we understand the language of artists,” a press release from the gallery states. The exhibition takes its name from the Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) 1991 exhibition, “Talk to Me,” which explored design and objects and whether things talk to us; openly, actively or in subtle, subliminal ways.
Mrs. Paschalides said, “The show hopes to remind us what art history has demonstrated – that great works do not just communicate at a cultural level but transcend the particular to speak to our common humanity, and help us think.”
Works have been included from private and public collections – from both Cayman and non-Cayman artists.
Mrs. Paschalides has also invited some Cayman artists to create new works, including Wray Banker, Randy Chollette, Nasaria Suckoo-Chollette, Pippa Ridley, Simon Tatum and William Verhoeven, to explore how artists communicate, from the traditional language of sign and symbol to the language of abstraction and conceptual installations.
Visitors to the gallery will be invited to respond to work in the exhibition “in a very participatory and playful way.” For example, on one wall, visitors are invited to write down the lines of a promise to engage better when viewing art.
Organizers say another exhibition highlight is an interactive digital art piece, titled “Synesthesia (2016),” in which the “artificial intelligence software uses words that members of the public supply to transform a digital composition featuring colors, shapes and sounds. Depending on the mood of one’s words and opinions, the work becomes a vibrant or muted addition to the collective composition of glistening spots of color and brightness on the gallery’s wall.”
The audio in “Synesthesia,” is dynamically generated to synchronize with the biomorphic forms and becomes a musical counterpart to the work.
Also included in the exhibition are more serious fare, such as a David Bridgeman’s “Last Tango,” an imposing and intimidating painting about death; Nasaria Suckoo-Chollette’s work, “The Women Have Become the Truth,” on apartheid; “Christ of the Communion” by Salvador Dalí; and images by Cuban artist Anyelmaidelin Calzadilla Fernandez on the theme of oppression.
The exhibition opens to the public Sept. 24 and closes Jan. 12. A special members’ reception will be held Friday, Sept. 23 at 6-8 p.m.
For more information, visit www.nationalgallery.org.ky.