FOUR PRIMITIVE PAINTERS FROM JAMAICA - Through Sept. 8 at the Organization of American States main building.
A first glance at the "primitive" Jamaican painters on exhibit at the Organization of American States in deceptive - two dimensional scenes of bucolic countryside or religious events may appear amateurish and child-like.
They deserve a closer look.
What these artists lack in technique (depth, perspective and attention to detail) is compensated for in richness of the characters and surrounding landscape. They show a spontaneity of expression that is rarely found in artists with formal training. Primitives are self-taught and paint out for money but for a creative and emotional outlet.
"Primitives reflect an innocent attitude toward life," says Jose Gomez-Sicre, director of the Museum of Modern Art of Latin America. "They look at reality tempered with love."
The Caribbean reality is depicted through vibrant greens, blues, reds and yellows wich convey an optimistic view of life in a tropical paradise. Everyone and everything is outlined in black. There is much joy in the yield of a lush bounty in Kapo's "Orange Paradise." The reaffirmation of God's will through visions is evident in Everald Brown's "Victory Dance."
The message is clear. Goodness is everywhere and evil is to be condemned.
Religion and mysticism play an important part in the lives of these painters. Brown, a carpenter by trade, is a Coptic minister for the Ras Tafarians (who follow the teachings of the late Emperor Haile Selassie). His son, Clinton, is his preaching assistant. Kapo (Mallica Reynolds) was ordained two years ago as Bishop of a revivalist sect.
A carriagemaker and farmer, Sidney McLaren concentrates on realistic renderings of his native town St. Thomas. The use of white in the buildings he paints, compounded with bright sunlight, gives a luminous and joyful feel to the town and its inhabitants.