Categories
Exhibitions

Members’ Opening

Simplicity of Form: Unfolding Abstraction

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the members’ opening of Simplicity of Form: Unfolding Abstraction. The exhibition is produced in partnership with the Green family and we would like to extend a sincere thank you to them for the generous loan of these artworks. 

This exhibition represents the third in a series that we have had held showcasing the Green family’s private collection. The first, Rebel with A Cause: Shepard Fairey, was held in 2017; followed by What’s Poppin’: Pop Art and Its Influence, held in 2019.   

Simplicity of Form: Unfolding Abstraction, curated by Eve Godet Thomas, expands on this series both in terms of the time frame of the works but also the scale and scope of the works on display, including a move from the Hereward T. Watlington Room to the Humann, Young and Upper Mezzanine Galleries, allowing us to accommodate the works in a more expansive way.

The exhibition brings together a world-class selection of artists and artworks, examples of which are found in the most significant art museums across the globe, and we are thrilled to be able to present this in Bermuda.

As with all BNG exhibitions, there is robust educational programming and we have once again partnered with the Hamilton Princess, who have generously provided a minibus that will bring in primary, middle and senior school students from across the island. School tours have already begun and will continue to come in twice a day, five days a week, for the next ten weeks.  

If you have school age children, please let their teachers and PTAs know. Tours are free of charge and open to all schools, both public and private. For the previous Pop Art exhibition, we brought in over 3,000 students and 111 teachers, which had an incredible impact on our community’s young people.

For further information please contact Education Officer Rehana Packwood at education@bng.bm

Simplicity of Form: Unfolding Abstraction runs through to September 2023.

Categories
Community

BNG Project Space Series

Call to Artists

Abi Box is the first artist in the 2023 BNG Project Space Series, a new programme, which acts as an incubator for local artists, giving those who have previously been selected for the Bermuda Biennial the opportunity to present a new body of work, or works in progress. 

New exhibitions are presented quarterly and afford artists the chance to develop concepts and series. Opening in June will be an immersive installation by Catherine Lapsley, curated by BNG Trustee Mitchell Klink. 

Artists – if you have previously exhibited in the Bermuda Biennial (at any point over its 28-year run) and have a current body of work or concept that you would like to propose for the BNG Project Space, we’d love to hear from you!

Email Executive Director Peter Lapsley at director@bng.bm for more information. For those interested in supporting the BNG Project Space, we are also currently seeking a title sponsor. 

Top: Flotsam and Jetsam: The Cost of Modern Living by Meredith Andrews in the BNG Project Space in 2021. Above: Identical Days by Abi Box is on display through to May. 
Categories
Bermuda Artists

Identical Days

Abi Box

“I’m interested in the fundamentals of painting — the process of it all, the countless ways in which paint as a material can be used, all the ways that a mark can be made,” says Abi Box. In this exhibition, the British artist, who has been based in Bermuda for five years, explores the possibilities of monotype printing, in which a unique print is pulled by hand from paint applied directly onto a Plexiglass plate.

Box likens the effect of painting on Plexiglass to painting on canvas. “It is a flexible, forgiving way of creating a picture. No mark is fixed, and the paint can be pushed and moved around,” she says. “It allows me to indulge in the grittiness and unpredictability of paint.” Box works in watercolour, which pools and fragments on the surface, creating a sense of abstraction in the printed image. Painting, for her, is a means of exploration. “It is important to me when painting not to copy from observation, but to react.” 

Abi Box paints directly onto a Plexiglass plate on the dock outside her studio. The plate is fixed in place onto a larger sheet behind which sits a piece of white paper, which allows her to see what she is painting more clearly.

Inspired by the glare of sunlight bouncing off the water and Bermuda’s white roofs, the works in this series capture the impression left by the blinding midday sun — the way that it bleaches the colours around it or frames a cluster of palm trees. “When you’re on the pink sand it’s so overwhelmingly drenched in brightness, you can barely see colour because of it. Everything’s bleached,” she says. “In other pieces, I focused on the chaotic wrangle of foliage at the water’s edge, which advocates for fluidity between shapes and crowded compositions full of pattern and ambiguity.”

Abi Box first experimented with monotype printing on an artist residency in the Peruvian rainforest in 2016. What she didn’t realise at the time is that the prints need to be made within the first few days of the plates being painted. As a result, she was left with a series of painted glass plates which, although too dry to print from, were beautiful objects in and of themselves. Intrigued, she coated them in resin and turned them into a series of stained-glass panels. These small, intimate pieces caught the attention of a collector, who then commissioned her to make a scaled-up version — a light box installation, now on permanent display at Simmons Contemporary in London. 

The artist pulls a monotype print off a Plexiglass plate. Each plate creates a single print.

While pregnant with her first child, Box returned to the monotype medium as a way of avoiding the paint fumes of her usual work on canvas. Later, restricted to short windows of time in which to paint with a newborn, the process of making prints suited these short bursts. This series was completed amidst the identical days of new motherhood and with the impending arrival of her second child. 

Using bold, gestural brushstrokes, the works capture the view of Ely’s Harbour from Box’s Somerset studio, along with nearby banana groves and small coves that she has discovered along the island’s shoreline. The works veer between sparsity and density, which creates a woven, textural result infused with the very essence of Bermuda.

Identical Days by Abi Box is on display in the BNG Project Space through to May.


Meet the Artist

We are hosting an Artist’s Reception for Abi Box on Thursday, February 16th 5pm – 6.30pm exclusively for BNG members. Join us for a drink and explore the gallery after it has closed to the public. This is an exciting opportunity to meet the artist and learn more about her unique approach. 

Invitations have already been sent out directly to members. If you have not received an invitation, your membership may have lapsed. Please note that this is renewal season and that 2022/23 memberships expire on March 31. 

Take out or renew your membership today to be added to the guestlist for the event. All memberships will be valid through to March 2024. 

Click here to become a member.

Categories
City Art Fest

Artist at Work

Dr Edwin M.E. Smith

Turning a private practice into a public one, Dr Edwin M.E. Smith created one of his signature duct tape works live at the City Art Fest. It was an important moment for the artist and educator, who is passionate about the importance of creating opportunities for the audience to witness, and interact with, artists as art is being made.

Having found inspiration in the work of Richard Saunders for many years, Dr Smith felt at home working within the Personal Perspective: Photographs by Richard Saunders exhibition. Detached from the main gallery, the Ondaatje Wing provided a sanctuary amidst the hustle and bustle of the day and allowed him to work quietly, whilst simultaneously sharing his process with visitors.

We caught up with Dr Smith to discuss what it was like to work in front of an audience and why everyone should know, and be able to speak readily about, the artists in their own community.

BNG: Thank you for taking part in the City Art Fest! It was wonderful to have so many artists involved, all doing different things across the two galleries in celebration of BNG and BSoA’s joint centenary. What was your experience of the event?

ES: It was great to be in the environment of individuals who wanted to show and talk about their art and practice and those who wanted to see and experience it all. This may be the beginning of something very special.

BNG: Your first duct tape work for BNG was Transience, exhibited in the 2020 Bermuda Biennial. Visitors were awed by the scale and detail of the work and were amazed to discover when they got up close that it was made entirely from duct tape. How did this piece first come about?

ES: I have had students create duct tape installations at Bermuda College but I had never considered it seriously for my own intentions as the primary medium before creating a work in Gibraltar. Within an exercise where the art residency participants created from supplies and materials that were provided – I selected the duct tape. Transience was originally to be a large painting. It was an aesthetic moment for me when, in my planning process, the message and the appropriate medium – duct tape – came together in a perfect fit. Tape is utilitarian, readily available, and associated with a temporary existence. A bonus for me is that traditionally it is available in my desired palette! I feel that I have not exploited this medium and so l want you to look out for more large installations coming from me.

BNG: I remember watching you work on Transience as we were installing the show, methodically piecing it together day after day. It was fascinating to watch. I’m glad that visitors to the Art Fest got to see your process in action. What was it like having people watch you at work?

ES: I enjoyed every minute. Some visitors watched for a bit and then left. Some got in very close and asked lots of questions. Some surprised me when I thought I was alone but then sensed their presence and learned that they had been nearby watching for a little while. I believe there was a lot of genuine interest. For me, if the interest is there, I am glad to share my thinking about the work, my concept, the journey, and art in general. I did not get as much done on the work as I had imagined but I recognise that the objective was more on the interaction.

BNG: Artmaking is often a private process, is that usually the case for you?

ES: You are absolutely correct in that artmaking, especially for visual artists, occurs more in the privacy of a studio. Undisturbed time to contemplate is crucial. Certainly, there are times when I prefer to work in isolation. I usually allow my work to be seen after a certain point or when it is fully complete. However, as an educator, I am used to giving demonstrations, or working alongside my students, to clarify a point or to give some guidance. Also, as there are some works that cannot be done in private due to factors such as scale or location, the artist must be flexible and confident enough to work in an open environment.

BNG: Has your experience of making art live before visitors to the gallery changed the way you approach art making in any way?

ES: This experience has not really changed the way I approach making art. I am meticulous and a planner. I consider my content, my composition, and the appropriate medium. As a teacher, I am very used to necessary prep work. My preparation for the Art Fest included ensuring that the audience would see the work not in its very early stages, but rather developed to a point at which they could visualise it as a completed work. To enable this, I put in a number of hours beforehand and tried to anticipate questions.

BNG: You chose to make your work in the Richard Saunders exhibition, why did you choose that space in particular?

ES: There is a benefit from working in a place slightly set apart from the highest traffic but more important for me was my proximity to Richard Saunders’ work. I was working in a safe, solemn environment. The space was an inspiring haven because Saunders’ life and work has provided inspiration for me for many years. It can be accurately said that Saunders was a monochromatic figurative artist who had an interest in humanity, and in particular the African diaspora. I knew that I could not pass on the opportunity. I anticipated the experience, and I was quite at home.

Newark Nap by Dr Edwin M.E. Smith, 2022. Duct tape on masonite.

BNG: Was Newark Nap a response to the Saunders exhibition in any way?

ES: Newark Nap could be regarded as a response to the Saunders exhibition – but it was not an overt intention. I would say that as I have long enjoyed Saunders’ interest and photography, he may have had an influence on much of what I do – more than on just this particular work.

BNG: What were your takeaways from the experience?

ES: Already, the public is regularly encouraged to visit museums and galleries to view the completed works and perspectives of the artists. I believe that the creation of more opportunities for the audience to witness and interact with artists, particularly as art is being made, is a great idea and may foster more interest and patronage of the arts. The public needs to know and be able to speak readily about the artists in their community.

Categories
Education

BNG Internship Programme

Sponsored by Butterfield

We are currently seeking applications for our 2023 Internship Programme. Sponsored by Butterfield, this is a three-month paid programme that provides on-the-job training in all aspects of museum operations for students aged 18 to 25. There is a new intake every quarter and we are currently seeking applications for the Spring, Summer and Fall placements. Applications are due by February 20.

The BNG internship is a paid programme which provides Bermudians with the opportunity to work in a dynamic arts and culture institution and gain work experience towards their future goals. The selected candidates will support the small team of staff with projects that cover all aspects of running the organisation, from ideation to administration.

Butterfield’s Managing Director of Bermuda and International Wealth, Michael Neff, says: “Butterfield is pleased to support the Bermuda National Gallery with their continued efforts to create learning opportunities and education programmes for students of all ages in our community, helping to inspire the next generation through arts, culture and heritage. Much like our own internship programme for those with an interest in financial services, this initiative gives young people with an interest in the creative industries an opportunity to get paid and gain hands-on experience.”

The programme structure is tailored to each participant’s experience and interest, with the aim of developing their resume to best assist with their career goals. This will include, but is not limited to, assisting with:

  • Office administration
  • Exhibition research, design and creation
  • Marketing
  • Event planning
  • Installation of artwork and management of the gallery space
  • Exhibition tours and public speaking
  • Education programmes, including the BNG summer camp


Julia Cox (pictured above), who is currently interning with the Bermuda National Gallery, says: “I come from a background in Fine Art Photography and am now pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Psychology. I recommend that students of all backgrounds apply for the BNG internship programme. One can gain experience in an array of skillsets while working here, from events management to marketing and communications, including how you interact with people in a professional setting. All skills, to an extent, applicable to a psychology degree and to many other career paths that differ from the visual arts.”

Former intern Alice Moniz (pictured above), who is currently studying for a Masters Degree in Public Policy at Sciences Po in Paris, added: “The BNG internship was unforgettable! From giving tours, curating an exhibition and learning about the internal workings of an organisation, I developed valuable relational, organisational and operational skills. Another wonderful part of the BNG internship experience was working with their wonderful, dynamic team! It was truly an experience which nurtured growth and in which teamwork was valued. I hope to find such a great working environment in my next professional experience. This was an important part of my career trajectory. I will carry the lessons learned and great memories with me. Thank you, BNG.”


How to Apply

Applications are open to all Bermudians in full or part time education between the ages of 18 and 25. No previous experience is necessary. The next intakes take place in Spring, Summer and Fall. The standard period for the internship is five days per week for three months, however this can be amended based on the day-to-day needs of the candidate.

To apply, send a letter explaining why you are interested in the internship programme, along with a copy of your resume, to Executive Director Peter Lapsley at director@bng.bm.

Applications are due by February 20th.

Categories
2022 Bermuda Biennial

Re-Examining History

Dr Kristy Warren and Ami Zanders

Art allows us to tell our stories. Never was this more evident than in Embers, the first collaboration between academic Dr Kristy Warren and artist Ami Zanders

The short film, which was produced for the 2022 Bermuda Biennial, layers animation, archival research, legend, symbolism, and poetry to explore the life of Sally Bassett. This unique approach produces a nonlinear narrative, immersing the viewer in Bassett’s story as “a sense of the real and the imagined, past and present” fuse together.

As the Biennial comes to a close, we caught up with the pair to discuss why re-examining history means thinking creatively, how objects hold our memories, and why, when it comes to understanding the past, traditional historical sources alone are not enough.

BNG: Ami, last time we caught up (in August 2020) you had just begun experimenting with animation, having discovered the Stop Motion Animation app on your phone while confined away from your art studio during the first Covid-19 lockdown in England. This ultimately led to you changing the direction of your final MA Fine Art project at Liverpool John Moore University. How has your interest in animation developed since then?

AZ: I want to do more of it but I need more time as it’s a long process. This year, life and work have changed, giving me more freedom. I want to get back into it, but I also need to think about technology. I’m working with a phone on its last leg. My poor little phone can only handle about 15 seconds when I need about three hours’ worth of work. So that’s a bit of a problem, but it’s not stopping my love for it, or wanting to make more and working on ideas that are going to happen in the future.

BNG: How did your collaboration on Embers come about?

KW: Ami decided I should be an artist.

AZ: There was more to it than that. It was during the first year of Covid-19 – shortly after George Floyd’s murder and the resurgence of Black Lives Matter. A social media post about the Tucker sisters led to us discussing the Sally Bassett bell. My sister Karla (Ingemann, the Appraisal Archivist at the Bermuda Archives) and I had one, but we thought it was from the American South. In talking with you we learnt that the bell was Bermudian, not from the south. Also, you have good ideas about releasing bad energy from artefacts that we’d been talking about since before Covid-19 started. 

KW: Yes, I see these objects as holding our memories. It is memories that a lot of us have ‘forgotten.’ What frustrates me is that much of this so-called forgetting is the result of purposeful erasure.

AZ: That’s what I thought was interesting. But, also, I think you’re an artist anyway. And you’re doing cool things.

Left: Dr Kristy Warren. Photograph by Alia Hamza. Right: Ami Zanders.

BNG: Kristy, this is your first exhibition. As a lecturer in Black History at the University of Lincoln, you have previously approached similar subjects from an academic perspective. However, this project re-examines history through an experimental lens, using a collage of archival documents, legend and symbolism. In what ways can an artistic approach such as this help us to tell our stories?

KW: I have only been employed as a lecturer for one year. When we began working on Embers, I was a post-doctoral researcher. I’ve worked across a few different universities and projects on short-term contracts. Through these various research projects, along with other work and education experiences, I learnt that traditional historical sources alone are not enough.

For one thing, it’s difficult to find the voices of the enslaved in archival sources. So, it’s necessary to use a range of sources that are stored in different archives and libraries, which were written and assembled by people who didn’t value us, to find fragments of our voices and experiences. We also need to pay attention to the narratives that have been passed down orally.

What I found so powerful about Sally’s traces in the archives is that she doesn’t speak much. Why would she speak to them? She’s already been to court before; they’d already decided to punish her. The stories that were passed down in Bermuda suggest that Sally Bassett saved her voice for other enslaved people. When she left the courtroom she spoke to them; I’d suggest this is because that’s who mattered to her.

AZ: You were talking before about the role of sailors in helping Sally. This means what happened her would have been passed on to the other islands through those same networks.

KW: Yes, they’re all connected. Bermudians would have learned of events on other islands. So, it makes sense that people on other islands would have known what happened in Bermuda. Because if these sailors are, as Dr Clarence Maxwell says, bringing back these goods, they’re also bringing back knowledge and ideas. And they’re taking knowledge and ideas when they go.

A memorial to Sally Bassett by local artist Carlos Dowling was commissioned by the government of Bermuda and unveiled in the grounds of the Cabinet office in 2009.

BNG: You worked with Karla Ingemann, the Appraisal Archivist at the Bermuda Archives on the project, along with research by historians Dr Clarence Maxwell and Dr Quito Sawn. Why was it important to you to include original archival documents in the projects alongside hand-drawn elements?

AZ: For me, it was about the layers of the piece to ensure that it was not a linear narrative. So, I layered the legend using the Bermudiana flower with the formal histories by using the archival documents. In this way, you have a sense of the real and imagined, past and present all coming together. This combines to create the post-cinematic effect where you’re taking the foreground, the background and everything in between and mashing it together.

Using historical documents in the video gives the viewer an idea of what they look like. This provides a historical element to the piece. The script is very ornate so it also acts as a decorative part of the piece.

KW: As much as I hate what they obscure, I like looking at archival documents. I love that there is a place where documents are held, that I can draw them out of that place and put them in a space for so many more people to see them.

AZ: As for mentioning Karla, Clarence and Quito, it was really important for us to acknowledge those who have been part of uncovering this story for and with us as a key element of the work is transparency. This is not to say they’re the only ones exploring this story, as Sally has long been part of Bermuda’s narrative.

BNG: Sally Bassett’s public execution is the most well-known part of her story. However, the film also focuses attention on her trial almost 20 years earlier, in which she and another enslaved Bermudian known as Indian Tom were accused of damage to property and livestock. For this, Sally Basset was sentenced to be ‘whipped the length of Southampton Parish’. The telling of these events is overlaid with images referencing the Little Green Door Tea Garden and Shop, run by the Tucker Sisters from 1909-1958 (during which time Bermuda was segregated), where they sold a brass dinner bell in the likeness of Sally Bassett. In what ways does the use of a non-linear narrative such as this help us to re-examine history in a way than a purely academic approach perhaps cannot?

KW: We drew on academic work to help us. However, I think creating something like Embers allows for a form of engagement not often available in academic work.  For me, this includes using poetry, which isn’t common in historical research; it lets me use my imagination. I also love how the format of the video allows viewers to tie the pieces together themselves.

AZ: From an artistic point, the Tucker sisters are so celebrated as wonderful artists, but it’s interesting to look at what they valued or who they were. They weren’t for women’s liberation, even though they owned their own business. They weren’t for racial equality either, as we see through the Sally Bassett bell, which kept Sally Bassett in servitude.

So, we combined what we can learn about the Tucker sisters’ association with the bell with what we know about the story of Sally. We don’t know the full extent of what happened to her. We just know what is in the court documents. We also know about the bell. So, the point of Embers is the layers of Sally’s life – past, present and future.

KW: That’s a really important point because re-examining history means thinking creatively! So, it’s really what you just said to me. Yes, we have these court records, but that’s not Sally’s life. That’s not who she was.

A Bassett bell produced by the Tucker sisters and sold at the Little Green Door Tea Garden and Shop.

BNG: In what ways does art help us to tell our stories?

KW: I think that creative visuals help us to remember the stories.

AZ: There are a number of examples of this in Gombey culture. Take the capes that Gombeys wear; they have Bible stories on them. Some of their movements also reference Bible stories, from what I’ve read. So, we’re constantly telling stories through the work.

BNG: You mention in your artist statement that this film is the first in a series. Can you please tell us more?

KW and AZ: Hold this space. We have many ideas but can’t give too much away. We’ll be sure to stay in touch.

Categories
Community

A Year in Art

Looking Back at 2022

As we come to the close of 2022, it is incredible to look back and realise that this time last year we hadn’t yet opened The African Collection: Our People, Our Places, Our Stories, the first exhibition in what would become a banner year for the Bermuda National Gallery and a showcase for what is possible when the arts are supported.

These past 12 months have seen the opening of six exhibitions, a host of programmes and education initiatives that support community development and events that showcase the arts in the best light, culminating in the City Art Fest and BNG’s win for Best Museum in the Best of Bermuda Awards. 

Top: The African Collection: Our People, Our Places, Our Stories, was displayed at BNG from February to May 2022. The exhibition was sponsored by the Christian Humann Foundation. Centre: Dr Edwin Smith works on a live art piece at the City Art Fest. Photographs by Brandon Morisson. 

As we look ahead to 2023, we are excited to see what the new year brings and encourage you to continue your support of the Bermuda National Gallery by making a donation today.

Click here to donate to BNG


As a registered charity, all proceeds support the day-to-day operations of the gallery and allow us to continue to develop innovative exhibitions and programming for every member of your family. 

Click the image above to read a digital magazine that captures BNG’s 2022.

Categories
2022 Bermuda Biennial

Through the Lens

Teresa Kirby Smith

Fine art photographer Teresa Kirby Smith settled in Bermuda over 10 years ago. Her photography practice is split into two distinct approaches: the Night Photographs – shot in black and white on medium format film, often using the moon as the only light source – and the Colour Photographs – which, by contrast, are shot on a digital camera using the bright afternoon sunlight refracted through man made materials, such as acrylic film, to create abstractions.

Teresa credits her island home with shaping this dual practice – the lack of light pollution enhancing her medium format night photography and Bermuda’s unique quality of light leading her digital abstractions. “The very clear and vibrant afternoon light, saturated with color, almost feels like a gift.” she says. “I couldn’t make these digital images in a place like London.”

This year marks Teresa’s fifth inclusion in the Bermuda Biennial with Double Exposure, a triptych which captures the same subject through three different photographic mediums: a cyanotype, a gelatin silver print and a digital colour print; encapsulating the history of photography in a single work.

We caught up with Teresa to discuss the ways in which living in Bermuda has affected her artistic practice, the ease of digital photography and why, in the age of the iPhone, nothing can match the exploratory process of developing film in a darkroom.

Color Cut by Teresa Kirby Smith, 2020. Archival inkjet print. Collection of the artist. Exhibited at BNG in Illusion & Abstraction: Capturing the Landscape (March – November 2021).

BNG:  Your current photography practice is split between two distinct series:  Night Photographs – black and white photographs taken at night with a medium format camera – and Digital Color Photographs, which are shot during the day and abstract in nature.  How long have you been developing each series?

TKS:  I’ve been taking photographs at night for more than 40 years. This first started during photography school when my days were busy, but my evenings were usually freer and less structured. I used several different medium format cameras, my favorite being a borrowed Rolleiflex. The subject matter varied – urban and rural landscapes, public parks, portraits, trees, clouds and stars.  The one constant throughout, however, was that every image was shot at night.

My interest in digital photography came about much later, maybe ten or twelve years ago.  Normally I try to spend part of each day in my studio, but if I don’t get outside to stretch and be in the fresh air, I feel lethargic and start to shut down. Anyway, I enjoy long walks and going down to the water.  Like most people today, I have a smartphone, and it tends to go wherever I go. During these afternoon walks I would often think about my night work and make mental notes, but at some point it occurred to me to use the camera on my phone as a way to keep visual reminders of anything that caught my interest – a particular tree or rock, a bend in the road – that I thought might make a good shot at night. Soon I discovered, though, the ease of taking a digital photo, and the immediate feedback from seeing it, which became interesting in its own right. I was working with bright sunlight, with color, these were my new daytime subjects, and I quickly found the process pretty seductive and hard to resist.

BNG:  Could you please talk us through the processes involved in making your Night Photographs and your Colour Photographs?

TKS:  My black and white night images make use of available moonlight. Nights when the moon is full or nearly full can be very productive. But, of course, there are plenty of evenings when the sky is dark or clouded over, which is when I’ll use artificial light. I carry in my pack a couple of flashlights of varying intensity. There’s also ambient light – from streetlights or from the headlights of a passing car or from, say, the illuminated front porch of a house that’s fifty yards from where I’m standing with my camera. And then there’s one more way I’ve learned to wring light from the night, and that’s with time exposures. When taking a shot, I’ll often leave the shutter of my camera open from several seconds to several minutes. If I’m hand-holding the camera, as opposed to using a tripod, intentional movement is also introduced because I’m breathing in and out as I hold the shutter open. This slight movement lends a dark rounded softness to the image which at times can be inviting, at other times almost sinister.

My digital color photos are primarily abstract. I prefer shooting these in the mid or late afternoon when the sunlight is more sharply angled. I’ll use different props and tools – colored paper and acetate, transparent acrylic film, bits of glass, optical devices. When sunlight is reflected and/or refracted off of these materials, new and unexpected shapes emerge, sometimes only fleetingly, which is why the speed of a digital camera, and the ease of using it, is so convenient.

Cooper’s Island, Doppler Dome Beneath the Perigee Full Moon by Teresa Kirby Smith, 2015. Archival inkjet print from film negative. Collection of Bermuda National Gallery.

BNG:  What is it about each method that keeps you experimenting and exploring?

TKS: With the black and white night photos, after I return home from having shot one or perhaps two rolls of film, I know there’s still a lot of work ahead of me in the coming days before I produce any finished images, and most of this work will take place in the darkroom.  The film will be developed – 12 frames per roll – and while it’s still wet and hanging to dry, I’ll examine each frame, sometimes with my naked eye but more often with a magnifier. If two frames out of the original twelve survive this examination period, I’ll start to perk up and be eager to get printing. Two out of twelve is a pretty good strike rate.

There are many ways to shape what the finished image will look like during the printing process. Prints can be darkened, made lighter, cropped, re-sized, turned sideways, blemishes removed. The process that takes place in the darkroom is almost by definition one of experimentation and exploring.

With my digital color photos, most of the shaping of an image, the experimentation, takes place as I manipulate the various props and tools at my disposal before I click the camera. I can take 20 or 30 shots in the space of a few minutes, hurrying to catch the light and the color before it changes. Shooting digital sometimes feels like the equivalent of hyperventilating. Your heart begins to race, your pulse quickens.

BNG:  You have been living in Bermuda over 10 years, after time in New York and London, and a childhood growing up in South America. In what ways has living in Bermuda, in particular, affected your artistic practice?

TKS:  It seems as if I’m always outside here in Bermuda.  That wasn’t as true in other places I’ve lived, especially New York and London. Bermuda may be small, but the horizon line is off in the far distance, out where the ocean meets the sky. I just love that. As a night photographer, I appreciate that there is less light pollution in the evening and early morning hours than in most other places. Less light pollution and less ambient light in general broadens my palette. I’m also drawn to water and to shorelines, so living here gives me plenty of material to work with.

As for my digital color photos, the very clear and vibrant afternoon light, saturated with color, almost feels like a gift. I couldn’t make these digital images in a place like London.

Teresa Kirby Smith.

BNG:  You are exhibiting in the Bermuda Biennial for the fifth time this year (’22, ’18, ’16, ’14, ’12). Your 2022 Biennial artwork, Double Exposure, is a triptych captured through 3 different photographic processes: a cyanotype, a gelatin silver print, and a digital color print.  Why did you decide to approach it in this way?

TKS: Uppermost in my mind when I began this project was the theme of the 2022 Bermuda Biennial, A New Vocabulary:  Past, Present, Future. The 3 photographic processes I chose represent 3 different periods in the relatively short history of photography as an artistic medium, so it seemed logical to me to create a triptych in order to address the Biennial’s theme.

The first image is a cyanotype, made by using a chemical printing process first developed in the mid-19th century. The middle image is a gelatin silver print from a film negative, which was the dominant photographic process of the 20th century. And the third image, representing the foreseeable future of photography, is a digital color print.

The subject of Double Exposure is repeated in each of the triptych’s three images: a Bermuda cedar growing from volcanic rock as seen from the vantage point of past, present, and future.  But here’s where it gets a bit tricky. Each of the three images I shot of the cedar tree is in fact a double exposure. I remembered it was Edweard Muybridge, the 19th century American photographer and pioneer of motion studies, who first demonstrated that repeating still images can suggest movement through time. I liked slipping that idea into the triptych.

BNG: In the age of the iPhone, digital photography has become ubiquitous.  What does film – and the varying formats of film – produce that digital can’t?

TKS: Digital photos are produced in an instant. Aim, click, on to the next, and then the next. All other photographic images, whether daguerreotypes or cyanotypes or prints made from developed film, are the culmination of sequenced steps. The steps vary from one format to another, but a sequence must be followed in order to produce a finished image. These steps take time, that’s one, and two, decisions must be made each step of the way that will affect, for better or worse, the final outcome. There’s no app to make these decisions for you. You are the app and you create the image. Regardless of format, producing a non-digital image is a tactile, hands-on process. It’s also a lot of fun.

Click here for more information about Teresa Kirby Smith or follow her on Instagram here.

Categories
City Art Fest

City Art Fest 2022

Celebrating 100 Years of Art

Happy City Art Fest 2022!

What a fantastic event City Art Fest turned out to be!

It was an amazing afternoon full of engaging artists, workshops, vendors and activities and we were blown away by the community turnout. We welcomed hundreds of families through the doors of City Hall & Arts Centre over the course of the afternoon and the building and galleries were alive with creativity. Whether it was scavengers hunts throughout the galleries, workshops for kids and adults, talks by artists sharing their processes, or impactful performances by our islands poet’s and performers, there was an engagement with art that was truly inspiring.

On behalf of the Bermuda National Gallery and the Bermuda Society of Art, I would like to extend our sincere thanks to all of you who helped make the City Art Fest 2022 a success. That includes all those who joined us on the day, the generosity of the artists and vendors who shared their skills, experiences artwork and products with the community, all of the volunteers many of whom started and ended their day helping out and to organizer Amy Murray for bringing the vision to life and managing all the details.

The event would not have been possible with the generous support of the Christian Humann Foundation and the City of Hamilton for working with us to make this a success through sponsorship as well as support from their team.

Thankyou!

Peter Lapsley, Executive Director


Art Workshops

A number of free art workshops for all ages took place throughout the day across the two galleries. Louisa Bermingham led an interactive mixed media workshop, Dr Charles Zuill taught silverpoint drawing, Meredith Andrews led an ocean plastics photography workshop, Richard Sutton taught charcoal drawing, Corrina Rego ran a sea plastics art workshop, Seth de Roulet taught photography and Abi Box ended the day with a collage workshop. 


Meet the Artists

From live art by Dr Edwin Smith, the Bermuda Plein Air Group, Amanda Temple and Jacqueline Alma, to artist talks by Graham Foster, John Gardner and Charlie Godet Thomas, to poetry readings and live music by Joy T. Barnum, there was something to take in at every corner of the City Hall & Arts Centre. 


Family Fun

There was something for every member of your family at the City Art Fest, including a bouncy castle, free face painting, a 360 photobooth and prizes to be won in the City Hall & Arts Centre-wide scavenger hunt, as well as free bespoke cookies by Tuck Shop featuring artworks from the 2022 Bermuda Biennial.


Food and Drink

Alongside all the the activities, there were a host of vendors on site, from local artists and artisans to craft beer by Bermuda Craft Brewing, vegan food by Alkaline Triangle, cocktails and mocktails by Mixyz Bermuda and hot chocolate, popcorn and more from Jazzy Treats


Thank you

Thank you to all the BNG and BSoA volunteers, along with all the participating artists, vendors, performers and sponsors who made the City Art Fest 2022 possible!

SPONSORS
Christian Humann Foundation | City of Hamilton 

DONORS
Graham Foster | John Gardner | Tuck Shop | Burrows Lightbourn 

SUPPORTING PARTNERS
Patrina “Power Girl” O’Connor | Gorham’s Ltd | Stationery Store | BUEI | Bermuda Blueprinting | Mailboxes | Ad Hoc | Pembroke Paint

ARTISTS
Corrina Rego | Richard Sutton | Bermuda Plein Air Group | Amanda Temple and Jacqueline Alma | Charles Zuill | Louisa Bermingham | Jahbarri Wilson | Edwin Smith | Meredith Andrews | Graham Foster | John Gardner | Charlie Godet Thomas | Seth de Roulet | Abi Box

PERFORMERS
Venetia Furbert | Catherine Hay | Jessica Lightbourne | Liana Nanang | Ajala Omodele | Andrea Olivia Ottley | Tiffany Paynter | Charlie Godet Thomas | Joy T Barnum | Yassine Chentouf 

PARTICIPANTS
Day Rosia | Indigo Song | Knotty Gal | Bermuda Garden Gnome | Longtail Furniture | Strange Bird | Umami Spice | Wild Herbs and Plants of Bermuda | Bermuda Bookstore | Rebecca Little Jewellery | J & B’s Wood Fired Pizza | Alkaline Triangle | Jazzy Treats | Bermuda Craft Brewing | MIXYZBDA | Interactive Entertainment | Rachel Antonition Face Painting | Bermuda Rentals | Flowers by GiMi | RYL Rentals  

Categories
Volunteer

Call for Volunteers

Join the BNG Family

Volunteers are integral to the growth and ongoing work of the Bermuda National Gallery. Our volunteers bring skills and knowledge that complement and supplement those of the staff — their passion and insight enhance the work we do in every way.

Presently, we have volunteers that serve as front desk hosts, event staff and that assist with exhibition installation needs, along with committee and board members who also volunteer their time. Moving forward, we’re eager to expand upon volunteer support surrounding event management, gallery docent tours, outreach and fundraising.

It’s a great time to get on board as a BNG volunteer — whatever your availability, background and experience, there is a niche to suit your skills and interests somewhere at the gallery!

For further information on ways that you could help, contact Lara Hetzel, Volunteer Coordinator and Operations Officer at operations@bng.bm

Top: BNG’s current intern, Julia Cox, replenishes stock of the Bermuda Biennial BNG Kids activity books. Above: Gherdai Hassell leads a tour of her first solo exhibition I Am Because You Are for BNG volunteers. 

Volunteer at City Art Fest

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Bermuda National Gallery and the 70th anniversary of the Bermuda Society of Arts and we will be celebrating this combined 100 years of art with an afternoon of gallery tours, workshops and live performances spanning art, poetry and music.

If you are keen to support BNG and the BSOA and are able to spare a couple of hours on Sunday, December 11, or in the run up to it, we’d love your help at the City Art Fest

There are lots of ways that you can help:

  • Welcome/Wayfinding (on the day)
  • Assisting with workshop activities (on the day)
  • Supporting arts & craft vendors (on the day)
  • Promoting the festival via marketing and flyer distribution (next week)
  • Festival documentation (on the day)
  • Breakdown of the event (on the day)

If you are interested, please email projects@bng.com.


Education Docents Needed

Opening at the end of January, Simplicity of Form: Unfolding Abstraction examines the development of abstract art and its seismic impact on contemporary Western Art through the Green family collection, bringing together an unparalleled selection of works by artists such as Frank Stella, Kenneth Noland, Alexander Calder and Henri Matisse

We will be running an extensive education outreach programme to accompany the exhibition, made possible by the Green family’s generous loan of the Hamilton Princess bus service which will bring school tours in from across the island throughout February, March and April

We will be running two school tours a day during this period and are looking for education docents to help lead these alongside BNG Education Officer Rehana Packwood. Full training will be provided, along with exhibition activity resources.

Tours, which take 45 mins, will run from January 30 through to April 30 and will take place mid-morning and at lunchtime daily.  Students will be joining from primary, middle and senior schools. If you have a preference for which age range you would prefer to work with, please let us know and we will co-ordinate the schedule with your availability.

If any volunteers are available to assist with crowd control during that time, that would also be appreciated. This will be less frequent, depending on the class size and number of teachers accompanying the class.

To register your interest, please email education@bng.bm.  

Top: Students from West Pembroke Primary visit Our People, Our Places, Our Stories: The African Collection. Above: Students from East End Primary visit From Darkness to Light: Portraits by Henry Ward