Illusion & Abstraction

Capturing the Landscape

“I think of this exhibit as a love letter to nature and Bermuda written over a couple hundred years, by artists who loved different aspects, and say it in different ways.” says guest curator Mitchell Klink.

lllusion & Abstraction: Capturing the Landscape is on now at BNG and runs through to September. We asked Mitchell to talk us through his approach to the exhibition, which examines our relationship with the world around us.

Mitchell Klink Bermuda National Gallery
Mitchell Klink photographed by Brandon Morrison for Burnt House Productions.

He says: “The show is structured in three parts:

1) Realism & Depth:  In this section we see artists painting landscape that looks like the world around us – they give the illusion of depth to a 2-dimensional canvas. You may look at Richard Wilsons’ painting from 1760, or Mary Parker West’s from 1876 and think ‘traditional.’  But it’s not all traditional — I encourage you to look at Charles Lloyd Tucker’s innovative paint work. And it’s not all old.  Half are by living artists; three were made in the last 2 years.

Classical Landscape with Diana and Actaeon by Richard Wilson c. 1760. Oil on canvas.
Collection of the Government of Bermuda. The Hon. Hereward T. Watlington Bequest.

2) Light, Colour & Atmosphere: Early in the 20th century, tourists and artists like William Chadwick came to Bermuda attracted by the beauty, climate and colours. Katherine Tucker is like a great grandmother of Bermuda landscape painting. She was an entrepreneur who made Bermuda unforgettable for international travelers. Sheilagh Head and Sharon Muhammad are her artistic descendants – they capture Bermuda’s color and light with their own identifiable artistic style. Here you’ll see works bright as a summer’s day, light as perfume like in the painting by Steven Masters, and dark and mysterious, like the plein air paintings we see by Molly Godet and Michele Smith’s Southlands.

The works on display are from the Bermuda National Gallery’s permanent collection, corporate collections, private collections and direct loans from artists.

3) Line, shape & Form:  Here are international and Bermudian artists focused on the shapes and forms that surround us. They take in nature and the built environment from afar and scrutinize up-close. They emphasize lines and shapes. They are sometimes structured like Tina Hutchings or lyrical like Abi Box. Complex like Marion Watlington’s leaves and Cathy Lapsley’s geometries or simplified like Antoine Hunt’s roofline. Sometimes bombastic, like Erik Gamble’s Jabarute, or quiet and reflective, like Stratton Hatfield’s composition of cast leaves.

Left: You’s a bone alligator, by Abi Box, 2020. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.
Right: Roof Line by Antoine Hunt, 2019. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.

There are 36 artists and 39 works. More than half are by living artists.  About half of the show is by women artists. 1/3 of the works are from the Bermuda National Gallery’s permanent collection; 4 works are from corporate collections; 9 are from private collections; the rest are direct loans from artists. One sponsor is a new Bermudian company – the Landscape company Solterra. The education sponsor is an International Business with an established commitment to the gallery – Axis. Even before it opened, the love and support from the community has been great.

If you’re a traditionalist, a Maximalist, or a Minimalist, I hope you all find something here that speaks to your preferences, and something new you didn’t expect.”

Mitchell Klink gives a tour to the International Women’s Club of Bermuda.

Mitchell Klink will be hosting curator-led tours of the exhibition exclusively for BNG members on Saturday, April 3. Tickets are free and must be booked in advance. Click here to register.