At first blush, the paneled effect in Che Lovelace's newest paintings seem discordant and a touch unsettling, as if multiple frames were randomly 'stitched' together - built up, broken down, and repainted again and again to some unknown purpose. It shouldn't work, but it does, in a sublime, surrealistic fashion. 

Currently on show in a solo exhibition at Manhattan's Half Gallery, 'Che Lovelace: Paintings' bring a meditation upon the artist's native Trinidadian space through a visual lexicon that draws equally on movement, manipulations of space, and figurative superimpositions. 

Colours, dimensions, and forms don't always mesh across the quad frames; a person's leg seems ashen, elongated and bruised in one spot, only to become foreshortened, multicoloured and compact in another. Still life compositions seem to capture alternate views of the same thing in a single work, and in 'The Movements of Paramin Devils' (2016) the effect of flitting, frantic hands and limbs in a J'overt morning revelry scene creates a hyperreality so mesmerizing that one suddenly appreciates the intricacy of Lovelace's approach as the devils appear to dance off the frame. 

"By treating each panel as a separate entity, while simultaneously building a larger scene, I started to break up the expected sequence by which I constructed the image... Suddenly, the painting would be in the realm of recognizable things," Lovelace recently explained to Half Gallery. Trained at L’ Ecole Régionale des Beaux Arts de la Martinique, Lovelace is one of a select group of contemporary Caribbean artists operating within and drawing heavily from the island space without succumbing to a reliance on the established tropes of the tropical. 

Che Lovelace: Paintings runs until February 11th. 


Works by Che Lovelace
Figure on the Rocks...Casper. Assorted pigments on board panels 2016
The Movements of Paramin Devils. Assorted pigments on board panels 2016
Still Life with Red Box. Assorted pigments on board panels. 2016
Composition with Blue Bottle. Assorted pigments and collage on board panels. 2015


Words | Lisa-Marie Harris
Image | Courtesy Blouin ArtInfo
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