Stanley Greaves regales select crowd at Barbados’ Zemicon Gallery with Haiku-like Poetry and new Colourful Works, out of the Shadows

One thing which usually permeates the works of Stanley Greaves, in either his political or literary inspired works, is the worlds of Shadow…

While at Bridgetown’s Zemicon gallery recently, he told the intimate audience that during childhood he would assist his father in painting signs and mostly black paint was used. He suspects that’s part of why he tends to favour that colour in many of his works.

For his part, Stanley tends to consider his pictures as a narrative, and “The Portal” has a paradox in its horizon line – it is that which you can see but never reach.

Many of Barbados’ art community were present for the delivery, such as his ex-wife and UK expat Alison Chapman-Andrews, Bill Grace (soon heading for Israel), Sheena Rose, Nick Whittle, UWI lecturer Mark McWatt and shutterbug Eric Belgrave among others.

He also revealed a preview of new works where his shadows are reversed – placed in a clever riddle… Do rainbows have shadows? Or is it that Shadows are rainbows in this seminal collection appearing to only now burgeon in Mr Greaves’ subconscious and manifesting accordingly on rather small canvasses approx 100×70 centimetres.

In my viewing the slide show, the Rainbow People and their Shadows appeared to be an idealised Caricom. Mr Greaves thought the use of colour lessens the mystery of his works, but Nick Whittle suggested it merely changes the aspect of what Greaves may deem mysterious.

Whittle also suggested that Greaves may borrow from Degas in that Stanley prefers to paint his canvas while stretched on wood and once complete then remove the wood. It was asked why not go straight to wood and Greaves suggested there is less magic in rendering thoughts directly to wood, this is in direct opposition to his fellow Guyanese Denis DeCaires – who adores taking mundane objects, and with little adjustment, placing them in similar manner on chunks or blocks thereof.

Whittle also posed a query if Greaves will write a book on Art… Stanley was almost flummoxed but then recovered quickly and stated that he toyed with the idea 20 years ago and made notes, but now that he reads those notes, he feels like destroying them and restarting from scratch.

In reference to the poetry (Afraid I missed it, I was a bit tardy), Greaves told the participants that many of his works in the slim copy (which may be found at Cloister in the City or at Sheraton Mall) tended to favour 3 lines with either 17 or 21 syllables, so he pondered as it resembled haiku if his Muse vactioned in Japan between bouts of composing works.

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  1. THE LARGE paintings are done on canvas stretched on ply, removed to be presentes as scrolls. Smaller works are on canvas on panels.
    SOME OF the poems read were from my notebooks, the published poems are in two volumes. Recent poems read but not yet published read somewhat HAIKU in style.
    I AM not a researcher/historian in art. The most I woulld ever consider publishing would really be observations on the practice of art by others and myself with reference to a “Caribbean aesthetic”—whether such a thing really exists in the visual arts.—common themes yes, aesthetic questionable.
    RAINBOW SHADOWS are now being considered as SPECTRUM SHADOWS posing another line for future enquiry as imagery and relevant technical approaches to rendering them.


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