“Transitions” presented by A-Gallery, Asher Mains drums home his purpose, Show continues ’til 4th March 2010

The Mews Restaurant is a charming well-kept secret of Holetown, the last time I was in the area was to see out 2004 and welcome 2005 – this was when Alan Sheppard and Kite had a special concert on the street. Model Sara Collins, Ace Cards’ Caribbean’s Curtis and Mark Greenidge, plus exotic dancer Teixara were among the stalwarts thronging the celebrations then.

Mains-007This time was in daylight and to also usher in a new sensation (so to speak). Rather than a mixture of artists, styles and paintings – the Chris Hoad-owned restaurant decided to concentrate on one craftsman – Asher Mains, presented by A-Gallery. Asher is not the first American to spend time in Grenada, yet I seem to recall an adage which says you may leave the Caribbean but they can’t take the Caribbean out of you.

Mains-018Such is definitely the case here, as Asher himself would say;- “I grew up in the Caribbean on the island of Grenada. It was in Grenada that my palette was calibrated and my philosophical foundations were constructed. I began to think about race, ethnicity, culture, and identity at an early age. These thoughts led to paintings of people and addressing the topic of race by painting all my figures in unnatural tones of red, yellow and purple. I wanted to communicate humanity as if we all belonged to the same race of vibrant colors.”

Mains-015These colours were part of his “Mother and Child” which definitely got my attention, for me I wondered if there was a tie-in to the fact his mother is also an artist, Susan Mains – Her show began at Gallery of Caribbean Art in Speightstown yesterday, but when I asked Asher if there’s any connection that way he said ‘No,’ but the warmth and love are very real in the picture – almost Mary Cassatt-like.

Mains-014The real reason for the show (which runs to March 4th) is to display every level of his styles so far, from his vibrant colours when he began to the current dripping style which Asher says he draws on from Hung Liu who emigrated from Mainland China to USA in the Mid-80’s. Her dripping technique while different from Asher’s, also reflects what he sees as the perpetual human condition of destruction and renewal.

So too “Transitions” also considers the aphorism “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…” apart from the evolution of his style which in turn reflects even further his desire to examine transitions of life, styles and mortality.

Mains-005Ex Nihilo (From out of Nothing) which seemed to be the crowd’s favourite, was to show that creativity forming existence can be a violent force and thus the screaming man (Go and see what I’m referring to, if it hasn’t sold yet).

Dreaducation,” is another phase of Asher’s depicting life situations and can be construed as part of his Caribbean childhood, some would say Asher could be obsessed with Bob Marley and his rendition of Bob in “War” may be like an old newspaper clipping but is actually a carefully laid out layer by layer then dot by dot of the man who forever changed the way ska is heard by the rest of the world (the white writing underneath the portrait is some of the lyrics of that profound tune Until the philosophy which hold one race superior/ And another/ Inferior/ Is finally/ And permanently/ Discredited/ And abandoned -/ Everywhere is war -/ Me say war).

Mains-008The show’s opening was indelibly set in patrons’ minds with the tones of Andre Woodvine as a counterpoint for for the rhythmic percussionry of Asher (Yes, he drums as well as he paints)Mains! For a better explanation of the A-Gallery show, here’s Asher himself;-

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