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By Neil MarksStill-life painting as an independent genre first blossomed among Dutch Europeans in the early part of the 17th century; fast-forward 400 years later and you will find Guyanese artist Dennis de Caires holding fast to that tradition.It comes as no surprise as de Caires was educated in European art practice, notably that which emerged in France in the 1800s and early part of the last century.This is ever clear in his latest exhibition themed “Pictures for Georgetown 1986-2009”, which opened Wednesday.Dennis de CairesDrawing from the name, one could easily be fooled that the exhibition delves into glorious images of Victorian Georgetown; not so. The artist remains true to his work. What you see are depictions of everyday life; some of what makes us ordinary people and some of what is enjoyed by the well-to-do.Details of paintings provide clues of domestic comfort – fruit in a bowl (simple, tactile spheres of colour), solidly made furniture where beauty of design includes functionality (the curving lines of a table leg or the ladderback and straight legs of a chair), flowers in a vase, a glass on a table – balance and harmony are established as we recognize familiar space and the pleasure of normalcy.Elfreida Bissember says the paintings remind us of the essentials of life.“They reflect rural traditions as much as urban sophistication and are thus applicable to existence anywhere: the universal appreciation of what resides in the simplest of objects or acts,Wholesale Cheap Jerseys, whether the colour, smells, texture or taste of fruit or the sipping of French wine or Guyana rum.”Not coincidentally, many of the artist’s ideas are generated by personal memories of close family and friends, owing to his experiences working and living in Guyana,China Jerseys Cheap, Barbados,Air Max 97 Buy Online, England and France. You see these memories in titles such as “Clyde’s Second Cigar” and “Jimmy’s Donuts.”The painting “Georgetown Lunch” was donated to the collection of the National Art Gallery by the artist in memory and honour of the late David de Caires.Dennis de Caires was born in Georgetown in 1957. He studied painting at Medway School of Art, Winchester School of Art, the Royal College of Art in London and Cite Des Arts, Paris.Since graduating from The Royal College of Art in 1986, he has developed a visual language and extended its vocabulary to produce a series of images with an apparent ease of articulation.These reverberate with colour and pattern and have become increasingly drenched in their saturated pigmented hues, tonal variations and complexity of texture over the years.Suggestive of an esoteric or personal symbolism de Caires’ paintings are nevertheless visually appealing and open enough to be accessible to the general viewer.Georgetown Lunch, which de Caires donated to the National Art GalleryThe famed Guyanese writer Wilson Harris puts it this way: “It is that I am sensitive to a peculiar levitation that occurs in the painted objects as if the painted object is a little bit off the surface, off the medium on which, or in which, it lies…that peculiar levitation fascinates me.”Highly articulate, Bissember says de Caires has dealt deftly with notions of art making, its problems, resolutions and effects, when questioned.In the catalogue for his exhibition “Rasterizing Generics” he speaks of “using repetition to help establish the pictorial space, and… in terms of reading the picture plane, to create a plastic space.” He also refers to “the architecture of the picture where, through structure, the viewer is encouraged to scan (the painting) up and down, left and right,Cheap NHL Adidas Jerseys, near and far,Cheap Soccer Jerseys Wholesale, diagonally, etc.”An earlier admission is equally revealing of his enthusiasms and intentions. “Colour is probably the central aspect of my work,” he noted,Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys, adding that “the enjoyment and understanding of pure colour… implicates the viewer in a narrative search” of the painting, given that the colour and design of the picture cannot be separated from its content.”“Pictures for Georgetown” is de Caires’ return to Guyana after 20 years.Intriguingly, de Caires has gained an immediacy of experience of his country through the imagination of other Guyanese artists and writers, not only Wilson Harris but Edgar Mittelholzer (1909-65), Aubrey Willliams (1920-90) and, most importantly, Philip Moore, the 87-year-old master painter-sculptor whom de Caires reveres for his keen sense of the potential of the land to enrich life and art.De Caires’ pictures, ultimately, are neither narration nor depiction nor reproduction, but image-making invested with personal meaning, telling a wider human story, invoking shared experience and understanding without the limitations of boundaries. As he reminds us: “It is in the imagination that place is best defined.”The de Caires world of images – vivid and replete with visual messages, invoking sensual experience and personal and communal memory – can furnish one such alternative, defining our existence as occupiers of a Guyanese space, or perhaps, an alternative space of the imagination.

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