Friday, February 17, 2017

The work of Rodell Warner

The latest work from Rodell Warner, The Most Corrupting Notion Ever Captured in a Dream, opened at Alice Yard last evening. It is in the main made up of painted objects he found and some he created using papier mache. They were painted in a similar pattern using black and white and were placed on display around the Woodbrook space where they will be on show until February 21, 2017. 

I had been hearing about the show for some months as he withdrew to create this, perhaps, his first major solo showing. I knew he was inspired by visual static and said he found it in gray as a static thing and too, so, between black and white. The images speak for the work in that they seem homogenous while being individual at the same time.

For me the show coming in the middle of Carnival, mirrors the underlying theme of the festival locally. While usually divided among politically determined racial lines at this time it goes black and white as we relive the Mardi Gras vs Canboulay dynamic.

There are two stories of Carnival, simply: the European derived masquerade that has devolved into the showgirl style costume at least in part, and the jamette carnival born out of the ritual of celebration at the end of the harvest season when the cane was burned. 

It is like how we hold on to the things we do that are perhaps negative. We feel this divide is crucial to the unique story that is Carnival and necessary for its survival. Its like to me, accepting your whole story even if it doesn't hold all candy coated pieces. I can't say apart from what I have been told and have read what the distilled truth is in that we also pride ourselves on being a carnival people and seem quite comfortable with that. 

I think of this as I take in Rodell's work with its provocative discipline that begs the question if we dream in the colours of carnival or in black and white.

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