Art from the Heart, the second exhibition from Kingston's newest gallery has provoked some discussion about the art market and the gumption it takes to run an art business now.
DecorVIII opened late last year and its new show, Art from the Heart, (both phonetic puns intended) celebrates love and Valentine's Day. Situated in a small business enclave in an increasingly commercial but chic part of Kingston, DecorVIII is well appointed for uptown viewers seeking new trends and Art from the Heart offers a mixed bag, sometimes reflecting the sentimental tastes of the McDonald family team who run the gallery. The exhibition's Sunday morning opening with live music and good wine, was reminiscent of the nineties, an era when Jamaica's economy was buoyant and collectors had more disposable income to buy both good and bad art. The art market has dwindled since, even as it has become more competitive and sophisticated. With resources scarce, art lovers are becoming more discriminating about what they view and ultimately what they buy.
Perhaps because of these harder times, the McDonald's have been able to garner consignments, with stock from pioneer artists such as Alexander Cooper to younger talents such as Nakazzi Hutchinson (shown here), all keen for visibility given fewer opportunities to exhibit. DecorVIII's good natured owners are also enthusiastic about using their space to feature the work of up-and-coming artists, so they are showing pieces by those who have yet to find favour with the art world cognoscenti.
Art from the Heart reflects the McDonald's altruistic intentions and the exhibition's title is a gesture to their own passion and their eclectic approach. It remains to be seen if they also have the heart to weather the competitive nature of the business, the critical appraisal of their venture, and the risks of a shrinking market in these recessionary times.