Pliable, performative, unfurled and pinned to the wall much like grommeted paintings on un-stretched canvas, memories are unfixed things. They change shape, they get tired, they get stretched out, like thoughts of home and projections of paradise, memories too can become new things (whether we’ve asked them to or not.) Kareem-Anthony Ferreira’s paintings of (Exhibition Title) on view at Johannes Vogt Gallery are representations of people in places: as they were, as they could be and for all we know, how they’ll always be.
With imagery sourced from family photographs, memory, and images taken by the artist, the paintings are negotiations embedded in the spirit of migration. From the artist’s home in Hamilton, Ontario to his family’s native Trinidad and Tobago to even his current studio in Tucson, Arizona, just like the floorboards of any domestic space, the paintings of are sites covered in gatherings, patterns, coming and goings, secrets and conversations.
Like everything formerly European and currently (mostly) brown occupied, the surface is a deceptive truth. To rephrase more succinctly: there is always an underneath. By incorporating screen-printing, and collaging patterned fabrics atop found and collected paper using gel medium and fixative and ultimately acrylic and wax crayon, each painting on view is an exploration. Greater still, each work is a potential metaphor for the Western Hemisphere Post-Colonial Experiment: people living among and atop arrays of visual material––some left behind (lovingly, absently, maliciously, all of the above) from the people who came before them (voluntarily or otherwise).
Exploring, disrupting and acknowledging mythologies of Caribbean leisure and its inaccuracies, the paintings (some of them literally) are witnesses to journeys. Geographical, ancestral or residential the paintings are links––tendons to places physically inhabited (for instance the artist’s former studio in Port-of-Spain) or critically imagined (the tropical-pastoral-holiday-‘Ya Mon’-scape in the non-Caribbean Resorting imagination).
Returning to geography, on a world map: Tobago is a miniature backslash (bloated), Trinidad a hovering stocking in the gravity of a Venezuela's coastline, Ontario either a dead fish or cartoon ham, Arizona, a misshapen unchecked box on a questionnaire and Manhattan a reptile’s limp tongue caught drying outside of its mouth. One could argue the exhibition comes from this too: the artist and all of these occupied shapes, menageries of smiling, working, thriving, sleeping, living and being faces set upon and temporarily pinned on un-stretched canvases before him.