Too close to call....

Submitted by Jeeraik009 on Fri, 11/02/2012 - 20:19

 This year's Super Plus Under 40 Artist of the Year exhibition, judges are spoilt for choice with four finalists all showing competitive work at the Mutual Gallery in Kingston. Marvin Bartley and Leasho Johnson have both fulfilled their Young Talent promise presenting work that builds on that 2010 display but with a greater depth of sophistication and maturity. Like film director Woody Allen, Bartley works with a team of models, sensationalised because of their familiarity. He places them against backdrops with multiple writhing bodies that bring to mind renaissance lietmotifs and Caribbean bachanal. Leasho Johnson maintains his hot pink portraits with contemporary cannibalised forms shown here. Meanwhile the two women artists Olivia Mc Gilchrist and Berette Macauley (both trained outside Jamaica) show work that pushes the boundaries of the photography. Mc Gilchrist is the purist with images that are stunning for their colour and crispness, while Macauley is messy deliberately damaging images and obscuring them in lightboxes that add to their drama. That all four artists seem preoccupied with the digital processes, whether in the form of photography, graphic art, compositional manipulation of video-making is indicative of how that generation has absorbed new media into their art-making. Yet, even with all this reliance on technology, most of their works are up-close and personal, telling stories about themselves that are intimate and sometimes shocking. In an age when we can all be stars of our own Facebook pages, these artists raise the bar on portraiture and its presentation.