You’re Excused while you Kiss the Sky: Channelling Pollock & Kahlo, Grenada raised Asher Mains infuses “Dreaducation” with Bob Marley’s lyrics
“What she was not quite so successful in overcoming was her strenuous love/hate relationship with Rivera, which came to occupy her time and her life almost as much as her painting.” – Roland E. Zwick, IMDb.com on the late Frida Kahlo – critiquing the Salma Hayek film of 2002
“As romantic as it may sound, the reality of suffering for one’s art is just that: Suffering. For realizing that vision and bringing it to fruition is more often than not an arduous and tortuous path to tread. Coalescing the fragments of that vision and transferring that information into reality can be a painful process…” – IMDb Review of Ed Harris as ‘Pollock‘ over a decade ago, Oscar nominated and award-winning depiction of the famous artist
One may take a look at Asher Mains and try to assume he may not suffer as an Artist, yes, he is at University but wouldn’t he rather have the mixed aromas of nutmeg and sea spray from Grenada as was his childhood, rather than the dry southern drawl of Texas?
Asher also is very aware his Caribbean he adores is not as laidback as it was or if it indeed was really so in the first place, maybe it is doing as it wanted for decades ago? Once Ye Merrie England released its clutches on this part of the world, once financially convenient? Isn’t the knowledge things were better and things could be even better yet a form of sufferance?
This juxtapositioning of Dreaducation, as Asher calls his expertise, with the inspiration he seeks from an aphorism of Frida Kahlo are clues to the deeply embedded sarcasm within the title of his latest show, still in Barbados’ West Coast – called “Things Are Just Peachy In Babylon” now headlining at Speightstown’s Gallery of Caribbean Art… The dripping of Hung Liu and how Jackson Pollock let paint streak his work all are part yet augmentations of Asher’s own tapestries.
Asher was last in Bim about 2 years ago, then in Holetown as opposed to Speightstown, the muse on his shoulder was Hung Liu. In the months drifting between then and now, these words started to have a profound effect on not just his psyche but his output;- “What need have I of feet when there wings to fly?”
Frida Kahlo said this long before Asher Mains’ birth, but they stayed in the Dreadusphere to reach down and touch the Carib-American and forge a powerful alliance with the words and music of Bob Marley which also pervade Asher’s work.
The same way the Caribbean’s descendants of slaves made the remains of pork not used by Planters into a delicacy which transformed to Pudding & Souse, or taking cornmeal flour and making a Polenta like meal known as Cou-Cou and roasting Breadfruit which the European descendants initially felt was beneath their dignity…
In this similar manner, Asher innovated and used what others saw as a limitation and made his show a creation which saluted not only Jackson Pollock or Hung Liu, but in addition – Kahlo, Marley and the peoples of the Caribbean where influences are not standing alone side by side like mannequins in a department store window, but now one great shamanistic family larger than life; by using every space available at the Gallery and incorporating it as Art, be it the windows or the doors’ glass panes and even the very floor itself is all part of the exhibition!
When you head for Speightstown, make sure once you arrive at the Gallery of Caribbean Art, you get a picture taken at his wings which are an homage to Kahlo – stand on the “X” which is taped to the ground and feel the majesty which is Asher Mains – made in USA, yet son of the Caribbean!