Beauty in all living things – Roberta Stoddart

The Tortuga backdrop

At the National Museum of Trinidad and Tobago, Roberta Stoddart’s much anticipated show, In the Flesh opens to a large turnout. Held at the Annex, Ms. Stoddard shows a body of work that deals with the subject of discomfort and unseen social obligations. She includes a portrait of herself in a wedding dress, yet unwed.

By a simple study of a common Roach, she paints to disturb the mind with living things which may repel because of its parasitical quality. Ms Stoddard, otherwise sees a beauty which she translates onto the canvas in the finest veneer. Here, she captives the notion of Race by replacing the head of the insect with the portrait of a human. It should be noted in the history of Western Art, Michelangelo played on similar puns by painting the faces of clergymen as the gland of the penis. These were a satirical commentary on the ills of religion. With Ms. Stoddard, it is the racial stereotyping she sees.

A clue to her composition, Saints and Sinners 120 x 72 ins is a place quite recognizable for those of you who are familiar with the Tortuga Roman Catholic Church. The composition includes four studies, were Ms. Stoddart isfreaks of nature who suffer from a skin disfigurement by the absence of pigmentation. What is unique about these studies is that her pallet offers a similar approach in the splotches of colour, as with their skin cancer. The overlaid are precisely layered to give the skin its tonal flake. portrayed to the lower right in a posture somewhat bereaved. The unusual perspective tilt is taken from the upper level of the church, where the organ once stood. Her subjects are the

For those who have a love for fine art, In the flesh offers a scope to the island’s finest painter whose technical range is clearly shown in oils. There is an opportunity to see what portraits should look like, as Ms. Stoddart’s strengths are those very aspects in a smaller scale.

An exhibition of recent works – Roberta Stoddart. National Museum of Trinidad and Tobago, 22th November till 8th December, 2007. A catalogue accompanied this show which is a retrospective of her work. Enquiries of the publication

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