(CMR) The latest exhibition to open at the National Gallery is entitled Pop and the Popular (Pop). It is inspired by the Pop art movement of the 1960s where artists appropriated images, techniques, and materials from mass media and popular culture and presented them in bold, graphic formats.
Pop investigates shared stylistic characteristics and common themes within the work of a diverse group of 24 Cayman-based artists, all of whom in some way engage with, or respond to, the concept of ‘Pop’ within their regular practice. It explores their work within the context of both our contemporary culture as well as social media in an attempt to define what might be termed a uniquely ‘Caymanian Pop art aesthetic’.
The resulting collection offers a fun and uplifting experience for the viewer with large-scale vibrant artworks, saturated colors, oversized sculptures of everyday objects, repetitive printmaking, digital installations, and the use of reclaimed and recycled objects. Its spirit of humor, however, belies a critical commentary on globalization and the homogenizing influence of consumer culture.
Says exhibition curator William Helfrecht, “What the artists in this show have effectively achieved is to strike a fine balance that both authentically references many of the pioneering Pop artists, such as Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg, while updating the essence of their work so it sits within the context of our own digital age of NFTs and social media and from a uniquely Caymanian viewpoint. The featured artworks reveal the continued proximity between art and popular culture, highlighting the ways in which our individual and collective identities are ultimately mediated and shaped by broader, transcultural trends.”
The exhibition features 24 established and emerging artists, including Vanessa Antunes, Shane ‘Dready’ Aquârt, Wray Banker, Douglas Cameron, Carlos Garcia, Debora Gill, Heather Holt, Martina Jackson, Jason Kennedy, Marc Laurenson, Pamela Kelly-Laurenson, Anthony Lawrence, Michael Mothen, Morgan Olley, Claire Pettinati, Yonier Powery, Aimee Randolph, Elizabeth Paige Smith, Kay Smith, Gordon Solomon, Scott Swing, Avril Ward, C.E. Whitney, and Zhenya Xia. It has been made possible by support from the Pearinder Foundation and Davenport Development Ltd., along with several artworks generously being loaned by private collectors.
Pop and the Popular is now open to the public and admission to the Gallery and the exhibition is free. Opening times are Monday to Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. For more information about the exhibition and the related program of free events, lectures, workshops and tours please email Maia Muttoo, Education Manager, at [email protected] or visit https://www.nationalgallery.org.ky/whats-on/ .