Glenn Roopchand’s Sacred Feminine


Glenn Roopchand  an artist pondering over Carlisle Chang and Arshile Gorky

At Soft Box Gallery in Port of Spain, Glenn Roopchand talks about his history, his association with many artists and his influences from a Modern abstract painter, Arshile Gorky. Mr. Roopchand notes that with this show, he expresses the Caribbean with a collage of motifs that reflect his Trinidadianess, namely the steel drums, flowers and shapes that look like sea shells. Roopchand has worked in many fields along the lines of carnival costume  design and interior decor to name a few. He clarifies that influences taken from him may be seen in the works by Pat Bishop, the difference he says is understanding craft from collage. Both artists use ornaments such as beads, decorative carnival trinkets and glitter which are embedded in the work. One can pick up at Samaroos, Samaroos is a known Carnival craft shop in Trinidad and Tobago.

A disciple of Carlisle Chang, Mr. Glenn Roopchand has kept certain techniques such as dry brushing, his paintings are caked with layers of gesso which gives it a relief surface, then flaked with paint by using the brush’s bristles. He also uses overlapping oval patterns that are not stenciled but rather painted. The Sacred Feminine exhibition has some hidden clues where his heart rests, glimpses of The inherent Nobility of Man is one of them, captured in two of his works.  Glenn Roopchand is responsible for the reconstruction of Chan’s The inherent Nobility of Man mural which was commissioned for the National museum of Trinidad and Tobago in 2006, he actually worked on the original mural. The inherent Nobility of Man was one of the most important art works since the Country’s independence in 1962.

This  body of work  spans from 2003, its warmth comes in many canvas sizes, there are smaller pieces that look like maquettes for larger mural concepts. Mr. Roopchand’s desire is evident here for large-scale public works but his cannot be matched with his mentor, Carlisle Chang. Yet his intention is to stand by his work by any means, his loyalty to Chang’s  methods  and his presence at the exhibition gives visitors a personal opportunity of his insight, it also helps educate Buyers, Curators and the public alike.

Glenn Roopchand’s take on influence, ” What this said to me was that, one can attempt to copy a work, but one cannot copy the energy, drive and soul of a piece.” With reference to your statement, I do not believe that M. Roopchand was trying to copy any characteristics of Mr Chang. What he was in fact doing was allowing the people of Trinidad and Tobago to remember one of the most influential piece of work done by an Asian artist, to be remembered with dignity and respect. Though Mr Roopchand was indeed a student of Mr. Chang, your art education at Pratt Institue would have allowed you enough knowledge to know that an artist cannot copy the passion of another artist. MR Roopchand’s art work is very rhythmic. He said of his work compared to Mr. Chang, “all my paintings, all my pieces have rhythm. You see these pieces are not rhythmic in nature, these pieces are not mine. These are pieces that were influenced by Carlisle Chang, so I had to maintain the cubist tendencies that he had.

The idea of replicating the piece of work was not to repliated the artsit’s soul, If you knew Mr. Roopchand’s intent you would be very proud of his struggle just to have Mr. Chang remembered in such a visual way. I have read many of your criticism of other artists work, and I find you lacking in talking about art /artist in an interlectual way, that reflects “Pratt institute” (Did you know that Mr Roopchand also attended Pratt). I must also mention that my conversations with Mr. Roopchand I find him to be one of the most intelligent and intellectual artists of East Indian descent, who has developed a style of his own. I can assure you that he was not TRYING TO COPY ANYONE’S SOUL, since he has a soul of his own that is reflected in the “Nobility of Man”

Glenn Roopchand
Sacred Feminine, October 22th- November 2nd, 2009
Soft Box Gallery is a photo studio and commercial gallery in Trinidad

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