Art Therapy – Pat Bishop

A great man stands on both legs firm

In Trinidad and Tobago, Pat Bishop is known as an artist who treasures the National musical instrument, the Steelpan and she also conducts the Lydian singers, a local ensemble of classical singers. Then, she should understand the structure, balance, tonal timbre and most of all the spirit that lifts as you listen to a score. But why are these elements less visible in her art?

At the Softbox gallery in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago Ms. Bishop’s exhibition is at its tail end, the entrance door is shut and the owner of the gallery comes to investigate. And like a guard to the Queen’s Royal jewels, his persistence is jolting. “No one is allowed to see the work”. What could the intrigue be?

Ms. Bishop has spent some time choreographing an exhibition full with musical intrigue. The pieces observed from her catalogue shows her work in the layering of forms matted with soft pastel tones to give a literal three-dimensional meaning. Therefore, the circular abstraction of coloured rings represents a steelpan, The painted keys of the piano is just that, a piano and so forth. In one of her abstracts, she adds a small violin figurine.

For those who went to the exhibition, the phrase not impressed kepts coming up. There was also the debate over her use of authentic goldleaf to decorate some of the pieces. This does not mean that the frames were gilded, just a few fragments of the leaf were just placed on the canvas without finesse.

There are many admirers of Ms. Bishop’s sculptural paintings, and she should be pleased that the exhibition was a success, it was an understanding that practically all the work was sold. Yet, there is not much to read from them but rather an exercise in Art Therapy with small blocks tacked together and covered with canvas and paint.

Pat Bishop’s Catalogue; I belong to the house of music. It should be noted that the cover of her calalogue is of a closed door.

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