Barbadian-Canadian painter Jordan Clarke shares her second blog post about her Fresh Milk residency. She addresses the direction her work is taking, focusing on self-portraiture and developing the background of her pieces to suggest a sense of space, and has continued to explore the island alongside fellow resident artists Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe of Cooking Sections. Read more below:
Two weeks into the residency and it feels like I just arrived.
I’ve been spending the majority of my time in the studio creating, reflecting and taking everything in. I’m sensing this as a time for gathering images, ideas and information that will find expression in my future creations.
It seems that I have gravitated towards self-portraiture as a way to access how I am feeling and thinking about myself in relation to this new place, Barbados. In addition to working from images, I have taken on the challenge of drawing myself from life each day. To assist me, Annalee set up a large mirror in the studio space. What I’ve found interesting is that none of the portraits drawn from life look completely like me.
Over the past week, I have been thinking about identity and how it is shaped. I realize now that my sense of identity is not linked directly to Barbados, despite my father’s Bajan roots. This is the perfect opportunity for me to think about how I would like to identify, how I see myself, as well as how my life experiences have shaped me.
Mid week I met Barbadian artist Simone Padmore who addresses themes of identity in her work. Some of her illustrations can be found in ARC magazine issue #5.
Towards the end of the week I began to think about the landscape, and how I could paint myself into one. The figure and landscape have always been separate for me. In my work the background suggests a sense of space rather than a specific place or location. I’m not sure where this will go, but it is something I am working on.
It was Easter weekend, and on Good Friday Annalee made a delicious gluten free quiche for our lunch. I am definitely being spoiled here!
An exciting event for me was finding out that early Saturday morning a horse was born on the family farm.
I ended the week traveling part of the West Coast with Alon and Daniel of Cooking Sections, who are also doing a residency here at Fresh Milk. We started at a lively market in Bridgetown. It was a completely different experience from the quiet and serene studio in St. George. I enjoyed the liveliness and dancehall music on the mini buses. We also took some time to enjoy ourselves on the beach. The West Coast is ideal for swimming, in contrast to the rugged picturesque East Coast. Our day ended with food and music at the Oistins Fish Fry on the South Coast.
Looking forward to the week ahead.
This residency is supported by the Ontario Arts Council.