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Bahamian art: Presenting. Uniting. Educating.

Artist Directory

Blue Curry

NAGB

BLUE CURRY

Biography

(b. 1974)

Blue Curry was born on New Providence, The Bahamas.

Education

Curry completed primary and secondary education in The Bahamas and graduated from Skidmore College, New York, in 1995 with degrees in business and Spanish literature and language. He holds an MFA from Goldsmiths, University of London.

Career

Curry is an interdisciplinary artist who works primarily in sculpture and installation. His work uses common objects and found materials to explore themes of the ‘exotic’ tourism and cultural authenticity. He also works with digital media and sometimes pairs digital imagery with his installation works. 

He is based in London and has exhibited extensively in the U.K., Caribbean region, the U.S. and on the European continent.

An interview with Curry:

Blue Curry spoke to Melanie Archer about the “misuse” of objects in his installations, and avoiding easy definitions.

See the whole interview here.

Melanie Archer: Your themes seem based on tropical imagery, but your materials mix the organic with technology, or with sleek or manmade materials (starfish/steel drum, shark jaw/tape). Could you talk a bit about the symbolism of this mix?

Blue Curry: I can say that direct symbolism doesn’t interest me. I’m really looking at image, and the way objects are used to create and reinforce an image. The starfish and the shark jaw are natural objects, which have come to represent the image of the tropical, the exotic, and the native. They tie most people into fantasies of escaping to locations of leisure, warmth and beauty. 

They sit at odds with manufactured materials that are functional, connected to productivity and associated with modernity. More than just putting these two classes of objects together, I consciously “misuse” them. The natural objects have already been turned into kitsch ornaments, and I likewise strip the manufactured objects of their use value. So, in the works you mentioned, an old oil drum becomes a mirror-topped display table, and the innards of audiocassette tapes are used to create a flowing gown.

MA: The Bahamas and the Caribbean are evident in your work. As your practice develops, do you feel that the influence of where you come from pushes you further along, or does the weight of it become increasingly uncomfortable?

BC: I can only feel the weight of it when I know I’m being considered a novelty or asked to address politics, which are of no interest to me. I hate being saddled with all of the superficial associations of the tourist destination just because the Caribbean can’t be understood in terms of critical thinking or contemporary art. I can’t tell you how many conversations I thought I was having about work which have ended as nothing more than fond recollections of sipping piña coladas while watching the sunset on a beach.

Further, when you can be identified closely with a place on the periphery of the bigger art world, you’re considered an “international artist”, a pejorative term which is a ghetto to be avoided. If it’s not all of that to contend with, then there will be someone haranguing you about colonialism or the Diaspora and expecting that you take a position, because that is still the tired theory which is pulled out of the bag to interpret art production in the region. Identity politics are of no interest to me, and I don’t have to answer to them. I’m a visual artist born in the Caribbean who works with the image of that place, but I don’t claim to be making work representative of it, nor would I want it to be the main thing to define my practice.

MA: Your work seems to have a humourous, playful element to it — a sort of joking that belies a serious message. I mean, you took a ton of sand on vacation! Could you comment a bit about the place humour has in your work, whether conscious or not?

BC: There definitely has to be a place for humour and lightheartedness in art. You can address serious issues in a non-confrontational way using humour. A conch shell with a strobe light flashing in it can be taken as serious conceptual minimalist stuff when you see it sitting there on a stark white gallery floor, but it’s really an absurd comical combination if you think of it in any other context. Because it is positioned in a rarified fine art way you might not know whether to laugh at my work or not — but you can.

See the whole interview here.

AESTHETICS

Installation Art

Installation art is a genre of three-dimensional works that are often site-specific and designed to transform the perception of a space. Generally, the term is applied to interior spaces, whereas exterior interventions are often called land art; however, the boundaries between these terms overlap. 

Sculpture

Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials – typically stone such as marble – or metal, glass or wood. 

Softer (“plastic”) materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals. The term has been extended to works including sound, text and light.

Found objects may be presented as sculptures. Materials may be worked by removal such as carving; or they may be assembled such as by welding, hardened such as by firing, or molded or cast. Surface decoration such as paint may be applied. Sculpture has been described as one of the plastic arts because it can involve the use of materials that can be moulded or modulated.

Sculpture is an important form of public art. A collection of sculpture in a garden setting may be referred to as a sculpture garden.

DISCUSSION 

Upon reading the article in Caribbean Books Review, do you get a clearer sense of the meaning of his installation and the objects chosen?

What is the artistic relation between Curry’s work and Lillian Blades’ work? In what ways they are similar? Note that both artists’ works are heavily loaded with symbolic meaning.

Blue Curry 50/50, 2015 Varying dimensions Assorted hair combs

Blue Curry
50/50, 2015
Varying dimensions
Assorted hair combs