De Buck Gallery is delighted to present Sheena Rose: Born of the Sea, an exhibition of new paintings by Sheena Rose (Barbados, 1985). Born of the Sea features 10 new acrylic-on-canvas works marked by lush sunsets, deep seascapes, and the artist’s signature, semi-abstract figures.
Departing from her previous tendency towards highly illustrated, graphic details, for this new body of work, Rose was especially focused on the flattened brush, and wanting to “show what the paintbrush can do.” Her pictures’ resulting flatness were borne from a new process: instead of sequentially painting each work, Rose opted for concurrently working through all 8 to 10 canvases in this new series. “I then started thinking about technicality, the landscape, storytelling,” she said. “I started seeing not only looseness but also abstractness…both motion and flatness.” We see the pull of these stylistic tendencies across this series.
“My works reflect where I’m from,” says Rose highlighting the importance of geography. A continuation of her past subject matter centering on joyous figures in athletic activities, Rose rounds out these stories with special attention to the place and the person. Horse Racing comes from Rose’s beloved memories of visiting the Garrison Savannah Racetrack in Barbados. The horses’ moving bodies are draped in evocative shadows and the stadium’s full house is fittingly rendered in a series of technicolor dots. Her aim of “hearing the horses galloping and the crowd cheering” is undoubtedly captured in this lively picture.
Born of the Sea’s standout work is a luxe interior. Couple Kissing displays the show’s new themes and stylistic tendencies. This warm picture features a couple sharing an intimate moment. They are surrounded by the vibrant patterns that mark much of Rose’s practice and mahogany-wood details which line many Barbados homes. The two figures’ shapes meld into one, something the artist pithily refers to as “gluing” their forms together. These pseudo-surreal visual effects bring ambiguity on the scene: a range of social and situational factors may be at play, such as gender and sexual orientation. Rose discusses her scenes with a contagious curiosity. In turn, her paintings invite audiences to interact and interpret with open perspectives.
Motifs are consistently found across Rose’s artmaking, embellishing the painter’s gorgeous stories. After recently experiencing a tragic event, Rose painted to process her emotions. In Agony, the bird motif is especially pertinent. These creatures have appeared across Rose’s oeuvre, pictured in full flight, independent and content. Agony’s avian sits peacefully on the expansive ocean. It is rendered in pale yellow, the sun’s light beaming on its feathers. The pure ocean water which abounds might bring up a cleansing water, a baptism, an opportunity for renewal. Rose said, “There was a woman who told me, you go to the sea, you bathe, and you don’t look back.” Born of the Sea reflects a simply beautiful new chapter.
Sheena Rose (b. 1985) is a Barbados-based visual artist set on brightening the contemporary art world. She received her MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2016 and is a Fulbright Scholar. Rose has exhibited her works globally and continuously takes part in biennials, as well as museum and gallery exhibitions. Her varied practice encompasses painting, drawing, performance art, new media, and mixed media.