Be careful what you wish for – Tessa Alexander

Between conditioning and talent

Street music vendors, Tessa Alexander, Trinidad, West Indies

Through a series of watercolors, Tessa Alexander continues her journey of painting aspects of Trinidad and Tobago’s culture from the perspective of the underclass. Her vistas and observations are up for sale to the buying art public who may empathize with her views, but not essentially with her heart.

Ms. Alexander is caught between highart society and low social concerns. Poverty exists everywhere, she laments, but with art as a commodity, the cost of owning a work of hers does not gel with the theme nor should it. Urban Paradise, the title of the exhibition gives buyers a range of the painter’s skill and her calculation to duplicate a formula to keep some works affordable. However, the less costly pieces are not as involved as the pieces that really stand out and cost more.

Nevertheless, Ms. Alexander’s style and technique, which includes a hesitant figure in terms of skill, has become more confident in line and technical proficiency. She is slowly beginning to improve with her figures, where before she had struggled by overworking or underworking them, thus producing an inconsistency and uncompleteness. Whether this is her style or not, this is not completely clear, as over the years, her forms are adjusting and changing within her environments. In this collection, for an example, the street music hustlers and the Policemen are fuller, rather than the looser figurative subjects overlapped by sketchy landscapes. The ambiguity in the compositions may imply Ms. Alexander’s inability to work them out more clearly, they are distorted, and particularity due it its weak foreshortening. Is the artist using this deliberate foreshortening and distortion as part of her meaning?

Being an artists takes discipline and in its journey, the bumpy ride will shake off what is not necessarily important. Ms. Alexander has to figure this out to produce paintings worth what they should be worth. The mix-match of pieces has deflated an exhibition which may have been stronger if only the quality not quantity was part of the equation.

urban paradise – Tessa Alexander, recent works April 29th – May 12, 2008. Horizons Art Gallery, Mucurapo Rd. Port of Spain, Trinidad.

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In the study of the power of art, in the human factor, artists find themselves predicting their own future by producing facets of their inner desires, fears and wants into objects they make. They should take heed to that very aspect, as in time, these accumulation of accounts and the permanentness of them will somehow materialize later in their lives.

1 comment so far

  1. saegel bascombe on

    hi tessa i love your paintings


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