Acquired directly from the above by the present owner in 2005
House is a beautiful example from a body of works that the artist embarked on in 2005, offering a sumptuous exhibition of his masterful combination of form and colour. With flawless execution, Anderson introduces a limited, almost translucent palette punctuated by intense accents of colour. The lush vegetation surrounding the eponymous façade is executed in vivid-green, arousing the senses to evoke the exoticism of the Caribbean. Executed three years after Anderson’s first sojourn to Trinidad, the present work re-visits earlier images of the Caribbean island that inspired Anderson during his artist residency at the Caribbean Contemporary Arts in Trinidad in 2002. This opulent landscape belongs to the category of works resulting from Anderson’s vivid memories of his experience. Declaring that: ‘Memory is the trigger. I will start from an idea about a place’ (the artist cited in: Ibid., p. 366), Anderson finds further inspiration from photography to inform his practice: ‘I tried to work in the studio but it was too much, being away and stuck in a studio. So I opted for taking photographs, for seeing what the place was about’ (the artist cited in: Ibid., p 368).
Behind where Anderson stayed in Port of Spain in 2002 was a country club. As Anderson looked from the outside in, he noted that one could hear more than one could see; laughter and the sound of people swimming echoed from behind the walls of the elite establishment. This resulted in an overriding sense of curiosity for the artist. In the present work, as our eye draws through the exotic veil of rich foliage onto the large edifice, we are confronted with the same sense of curiosity and the fact that we are an outsider looking in; we do not know what is behind the corrugated steel walls that surround the building. Growing up with a nostalgic view of the Caribbean, House serves as a wider metaphor for Anderson’s dual heritage, reflecting that ‘There was a constant discussion about the Caribbean, and in particular Jamaica, a discussion that I felt I was merely an observer of, rather than a participant in the paintings. I think that this feeling of being “the observer” almost sets the tone in the paintings. There’s always a kind of disconnection, there is always a sense of distance in the work. It is as if you are always looking from behind or through something, you are never actually in the center’ (the artist in conversation with Matthew Higgs in: Exhibition Catalogue, New York, Michael Werner, Hurvin Anderson. Subtitles, 2011, n.p).
The present work wonderfully captures Anderson’s deeply personal and distinctive approach to landscape painting. Conveying a formally sophisticated composition, House instantly engages the viewer with its visual potency and subtle ambiguity; challenging the viewer to envisage its story and celebrate its medium.
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