Suspended Bubbles Pay Homage To Bahamian Waters
How Does one capture the essence of a bubble on canvas, and create each bubble uniquely?
Veteran artist Antonius Roberts was faced with this task when he began developing the concept for his new show “Bubbles” three years ago.
The show features 22 pieces of acrylic on canvas and paper, and a hanging blown glass installation. The show opened last Thursday at the Central Bank of the Bahamas Gallery and will remain open for three weeks.
Roberts determined that creating bubbles with simplicity, floating freely through air was the best way to exhibit their nature. By strategically using colour, he was able to make the bubbles appear to have movement.
“The pieces are similar but different. What is so interesting is that people are making those distinctions. And you can see that in the movement. The bubbles have movement, they are not still or repetitive. I made them similar and different because I was painting the same concept. I thought, how do I capture the essence of a bubble. I can just do it once or I can just do it over and over,” he told Tribune Arts.
View the collection on Antonius Roberts‘ website
Mr Roberts’ artwork often penetrates beyond the superficial and obvious. In”Bubbles” exhibit, he opted for simplicity, intending for the exhibition to be playful and childlike.
“It is meant to be celebratory and it is meant to actually encourage or motivate the viewer to think about a moment in their life when they felt light, when they felt child-like. Particularly, when I was a child growing up I liked running and jumping in the sea.
Every-time I splashed, bubbles would come up and every-time I dive even without a mask, bubbles would come up. Those bubbles to me were just so exciting because they were created by air under clean, beautiful, turquoise waters,” he said.
The paintings were also designed to capture the aesthetic qualities of Bahamian waters which Mr Roberts said is often taken for granted.
“When I think about the Bahamas and our ocean, I also think about how lucky we are to have such a beautiful environment. Our waters are just so different: from Exuma, Abaco, Eleuthera to Grand Bahama. When I was given the opportunity to do a piece for the international airport I thought wouldn’t it be wonderful to try to capture that beauty that we take for granted in the Bahamas, but in the form of a bubble to hang inside the airport so that as people come and leave they can celebrate this beautiful, clean, translucent, transparent bubble,” he said.
“The reason why I wanted this exhibit to appear so simple, because I am hoping that someone will see and appreciate that life is also but a bubble and the same wonderful waters that we celebrate could one day evaporate like a bubble. A bubble is so beautiful yet it is momentary. The bubble will burst one day and its up to us to appreciate and celebrate that.”
The centrepiece of the exhibition is the hand-blown glass sculpture. Glassblowing is a technique that involves inflating moulten glass into a bubble with the air of a blowpipe.
Mr Roberts said he wanted the glass sculptures, which hang from the ceiling of the Central Bank Gallery, to capture the essence of the waters in the Bahamas. He said glass was the best medium to capture that since the lightness and transparency of water can be clearly seen through the sculptures.
In the near future Mr Roberts hopes to suspend 150 of the hand-blown glass sculptures at the new terminal in the Lynden Pindling International Airport.
Being conscious of the interior design of the gallery, Mr Roberts only mounted his work on the white wall spaces. He did not want his work to clash or fight with the marble walls in the gallery.
“The marble wall is an installation in itself and I did not want to compete with that. I just wanted to work with the white spaces. That is why I do not have a lot of pieces but the exhibition still feels full. I am not interested in filling every space because I wanted the art work be part of the architecture of the gallery and not fight with it,” he told Tribune Arts.
Mr Roberts is involved in several other projects that will launch in the upcoming months.
By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2013