De Buck Gallery is thrilled to present I Buy Myself Flowers, an online exhibition of the newest paintings by artist Sheena Rose, viewing online from March 31 – April 30, 2022.
Sheena Rose (b. 1985) is a Barbados-based visual artist known for her graphic, seventies-inspired paintings. In this newest collection of Rose’s oeuvre, the painter continues to work in her exuberant style.
Her stand out work I Buy Myself Flowers (after which the exhibition is titled), is a vibrant culmination of Rose’s signature elements: groovy patterns, active figures, and an abstracted conveyance of space. Rose had just returned from a trip to Grenada and had been painting flowers when she had an inspiring conversation with her best friend who had just bought herself a bouquet. The small act to Rose was a sign of personal strength, independence, success, and self-sustenance.
“I was most interested in the idea of pleasing yourself and making yourself happy. This sense of wish-fulfillment, the idea of being sassy and being a boss and taking your titles. It’s…about the individual, and looking at personal experiences, but [also] telling myself how to succeed.”
By employing fun patterns and bright colors, Sheena imbues the work with energy, but also with thoughtful undertones, interweaving an intersectional consciousness informed by her experience as a Black female painter. “I see myself and the world with lots of layers and overlaps,” says Rose. “Politics, stereotypes, historical and contemporary contexts.” Ultimately for Rose, the process of making these works became a process of reaffirming the beauty of her own skin and creating positive representations of Black figures.
This ethos is woven into several new paintings of interior spaces. Future Conversation (2022) features two women having a cocktail by the water as a bird flies out in front of them. It captures a recent memory Rose’s, when one of her friends discussed building a family. This new opportunity and freedom was symbolized in the painting: the bird flying out of its cage. “Not being restrained by where you’re from,” she says, “but also not being restrained by being a woman and just letting go.” For Rose, the bird also suggests a point of contact between Africa and the Caribbean. “I wanted to find something that I connect with,” says Rose, “which was the bird.”
Most paintings in this series feature famous athletes engaging in recent sporting events. Sass, a small horizontal painting from 2021, is full of this sentiment. It depicts Simone Biles in an energetic pose, repeated across the canvas. Of the strong and significant gymnast, Rose says, “I saw her cry, talking about the sexual harassment. When you’re a woman and you’re assertive, you’re called sassy or bossy. I wanted to show that this is okay.”
Rose’s process is intuitive, beginning from her “gut.” She uses locally sourced, affordable materials to create her works. Creating artwork on an island during a pandemic is no easy feat, but Sheena Rose remains undeterred. She is no less ardent when she explains her use of “school paint” to express the brightness and humor in her pieces, stressing that limitations offer her the opportunity to become more creative.
About the Artist
Sheena Rose (b. 1985) is a Barbados-based visual artist determined to brighten 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. Her varied practice encompasses painting, drawing, performance art, new media, and mixed media.