Haben: My Responses to Red, appropiated (Art Exhibition) by Kwynn Johnson

busy with notes 2
Kywnn Johnson's art exhibition was an "investigation of red in art, literature and advertising as it intersects notions of ethnicity,[economics] identity, gender, and violence in Trinidad." The overwhelming use of redness is a symbol of bloodshed in Trinidad as well. (This concept relates to my social piece, involving what the members of this community witness through news and everyday life).

1) Embroidered Images
My favorite embroidered image is the lips.
The use of reflection and lighting is amazing really bringing the piece to life.
I only suggested that Johnson try to expand that use of light in several other pieces; specifically the animated cartoon-like images.

2) Embroidered Texts
Through all means and red depictions you connect politics of race, nation- economics- the body-violence within the embroidered texts and images. This is the work of conscious artists, the embroidered texts you have made ARE your own, fully embodying your consciousness and style. It is clear that embroidery is a major part of your art experience as well as a reflection of how you see the world.

3) Watercolours
The watercolours, accompanied by the fish wire presented a different tone and aspect to the RED series. The implications of physical injuries and their healing processes is what I was intrigued by the most, especially the implications of hybridity/contradictory tendencies.

4) Digital Screen Prints
The screen prints, in my opinion, were not the strongest part of the series, however it does contribute to the strategic process of the exhibition. However I did enjoy the many uses of the word 'red' which undoubtedly is a part of everyday speech and ultimately symbolizes human connect and disconnect.

5) 3 Newspaper Collages
I enjoy the found art aspect of the newspaper clippings. The concept of 'RED' power was heightened through the clippings. The collages and essentially the entire series captured **Johnson's statement: "Bloodshed is everywhere in Trinidad...even blood money, blood diamonds...mixed blood and blood relatives".

6) Rose Installation
The dried rose installation was the first display that caught my eye upon entering the Soft box gallery. Initially the installation fits with the Red theme but it was not until I made my way around the exhibition, going into both rooms, until I understood its exact purpose and dynamic.
7) Short Film: 'At a theatre near you'
I found the graphic film to be an interesting component though I agree it would have a made a stronger piece had the split screen dynamic been implemented to show both the artist and doctor at work. The focus on the hands could have been more evident. There is fluidity nonetheless that convey the message of ‘stitching’ oneself, identity and so forth.

Hi Haben,
Many thanks for your response to my work, as your time taken to do this is much appreciated.
It continues to be truly surprising with each viewer's comment, when I read/hear which of the works engaged the viewer the most.
And to think I almost left out the lips!
Yes the screen prints contrast a lot with the rest of the show, basically because it is handmade vs machine made.
But these text-sayings was one of the platforms that spearheaded this body of work. The collages, yes, can fall into the catagory of found objects, but it is also how history is written. But some viewers felt it was too 'unfinished'.
I looked at it as grounding the rest of the show, in that it presented lived experiences of the audience/landscape that I was presenting in red. Thanks you for stating the obvious yet that which is over looked, that this is my experience and my lens. Moreover, I continue to be pleased that I was able to communicate my ideas; in that your comments show that you and many others 'got it', via my visual language.Feel free to pop in the gallery this week again so we can meet, if not, I wish you every success with your work/research here. Kwynn Johnson


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