Saturday, September 18, 2010

South Florida Times Reviews Carib~bean Exhibit

This article was originally published in the South Florida Times.

Diaspora Exhibit Captures Carib~bean Essence

by Kimberly Grant

I’m not one for attending gallery exhibits. Most of the time, what people deem as art is just one hot mess to me. When I do view art, I tend to gravitate to art that is aesthetically pleasing, which probably makes me an art neophyte.

The Diaspora Vibe Gallery, the only gallery I seem to have an interest in these days, is a good space for art catering to an urban clientele. It’s a decent-sized space with solid hard wood floors and white walls that come alive with art. The gallery’s latest exhibit is an ode to Caribbean artwork, called Carib~bean, The Way You Like It. Seven artists have chosen the gallery to showcase a few of their paintings and renderings of Caribbean life.

Patricia Boyd-Roldan, whose inspiration came from living in the Philippines for a period of time, has a collection of paintings that are of tropical flora. The detailing in Roldan’s paintings is magnificent and aesthetically pleasing. The artist also captures the serenity and beauty of nature at its most colorful.

Lisa Remeny, a native of Miami and a California College of the Arts graduate, loves to paint seascapes and play with the sun and the moon. Her oil-based paintings, inspired by islands from the Caribbean to the South Pacific, are large and seem to bring rays of sunshine to any space. Remeny’s A Little Way Different, with its turquoise-colored wood and splash of orange is gorgeous.

A Little Way actually made me want to escape within the turquoise of the wood. With its shadow of palm leaves and vibrant colors, it creates the perfect Caribbean vibe.

Brian Wong Won, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, grew up a stone’s throw away from where Carnival is held and his paintings are inspired by happenings in the annual street celebration. The artist had a bad experience at Carnival when he was 4 years old that obviously influenced his view of the festival. His paintings seem happy, at first, but the worried looks on the faces of some of his people convey an eerie vibe.

Paul Chang, a native of Surinam, has always been inspired by flora and fauna and bright colors, but has taken a different approach to his paintings on show.

They don’t appear to say much. With their splashes of earthy colors and random shapes in the middle of seeming chaos, his collection is the least sensical of the entire exhibit. None of his paintings have any rhyme or reason and don’t appear to match up with their titles. I didn’t like this collection.

Jeremy Powell, a native of Port Arthur, Texas, has lived in Puerto Rico and Barbados. He refers to his style as “expressive vignettes of the moment.” His six paintings, simply titled Marchand, are essentially expressions of the same unattractive woman. Assuming her name is Marchand, she looks different in each painting, old in one and younger in another.

Carol Ann Taylor, a famous Caribbean artist, was nice enough to make available on loan to Diaspora Vibe a few pieces from her collection, especially by Carol Jaime and Norma Trimborn. Jaime’s entry, a black-and-white piece titled Ruby, conveys a certain depth but is not easy to look at. Trimborn, on the other hand, seems to have captured life in a small Caribbean town called Simpson Bay. Her people are all faceless and can signify any one person living in the Caribbean.

They live in run-down houses next to a beautiful ocean. The contrast speaks to the poverty of the people and the beauty of the landscape. It’s brilliant.

There are wonderful pieces in the showroom, including the archaic, yet modern furniture courtesy of Koji Collection and Madoka Design.

Diaspora Vibe’s curator, Rosie Gordon-Wallace, adds a nice touch to the entire exhibit by displaying art books dedicated to Caribbean painters and artwork. If you go to this exhibit, be sure to take a look into these books; they are just as engaging as the paintings on the wall.

Kimberly Grant may be reached at

PHOTO COURTESY OF DISAPORA VIBE GALLERY. EXPRESSIVE: Ruby, painted by Norma Trimbourne, is on display in the Carib~bean, The Way You Like It exhibition at the Diaspora Vibe Gallery in Miami.


WHAT: Art exhibition titled Carib~bean, The Way You Like It

WHEN: 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday through Sept. 23 and Saturday by appointment.

WHERE: Diaspora Vibe Gallery, 3938 N. Miami Ave., Miami

COST: Free to the public

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Call 305-573-4046 or log on to

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Jean Chiang honors 'Mama G' in Revolution Gallery's 'Tea, Glorious Tea' Exhibition

Artist Jean Chiang honors 'Mama G' in the exhibition 'Tea, Glorious Tea' at Revolution Gallery in Jamaica. In the article below, Chiang recalls her memories of Eglantine Melita Buchanan Gordon and discusses the work included in this show.


“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength” St. Francis de Sales (August 21, 1567 - December 28, 1622)

Eglantine Melita Buchanan Gordon came to mind when I heard this quote in May of this year.

I met Mama G in June, 2001, probably during my first show with Rosie Gordon Wallace and Diaspora Vibe Gallery in Miami. Mama G was undeniably the matriarch, wise, warm and welcoming with a beautiful smile, asking everyone to sign the guestbook at DVG openings. Her gentleness and strength were evident to me from the beginning. Only years later, did I find out that Mama G had purchased one of my pieces, Hand, a clay wall piece of my handprint, from that show. I was moved to hear about Mama G’s early support of my artwork.

Mama G with Roy, Rosie’s husband and Gordon, their son, was one of DVG’s staunchest supporters. Through the years, she attended many openings, always fashionably dressed for the occasion, meeting and greeting the many guests and friends. Mama G was a perfect ambassador for the artists and the gallery and we were always happy to have her presence and positive energy.

During the last nine years of working with Rosie and DVG, I saw Mama G countless times at home, sometimes having a meal together; sometimes Mama G was in her room watching her programs, enjoying Jeopardy, American Idol or Dancing With the Stars; sometimes we sat at the dining table with a cup of tea.

I remember having my first cup of ginger tea with Mama G, “good for the digestion”, I was told. I enjoyed our conversations together and I would try to tell Mama G funny stories or incidents to hear her laugh and shake her head at me as if to say, “Are you serious ?!” I’m sure that I told her about the 7’ dancing bear on a leash on the roadside in India or being asked if I was a ninja by an older woman in black on an overnight Greek ferry or being served an entire loaf or “tower of toast” served vertically on a tea saucer in a quick stop Mexican rail station.

In our times together, I knew Mama G to be “a virtuous woman -- dutiful, loyal, generous, faithful and strong” and....gentle. I never heard her raise her voice on any occasion but I knew that she could certainly make her opinions or ideas known without ever doing so. Twenty nine years ago, Mama G came from Jamaica, from Hanover to Miami. Nine years ago, I came from New York to Miami and became a better person for having known Mama G.

From Hanover to Miami is a mixed media work on paper to honor the life of Eglantine Melita Buchanan Gordon ( November 26, 1916 - June 10, 2010 ). Mama G touched so many lives in so many different ways; she will always be remembered and loved.

Many thanks to Carol Campbell and Revolution Gallery for continuing the tradition of Tea, Glorious Tea. This is the fourth year of my participation in the show.

Special thanks to Rosie Gordon Wallace, Roy Wallace, Gordon Myers and family for sharing their beloved Mama G with the world.

Sincere thanks, appreciation and much love to Rosie Gordon Wallace, Patricia Roldan and Diaspora Vibe Gallery for their support of my artwork through the years.