Written by 2:43 pm Art

Bahamian artist John Beadle explores natural forms, lines & textures in new collection of sculptures

Beadle will present his solo exhibition “Splinters and Shards” at TERN Gallery starting Dec 11

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — TERN Gallery is worked up to announce “Splinters and Shards”, a solo exhibition of new sculptures by Nassau-based artist and sculptor John Beadle.

The exhibition runs from December 11, 2021, to January 22, 2022, with an artist reception on Saturday, December 11, from 4 to 7pm.

John Beadle.

“Splinters and Shards” marks Beadle’s first exhibition with TERN. On this new body of labor, Beadle combines natural and manufactured materials to create pieces that reference and warp their original forms.

Beadle, who trained as a painter and printmaker, applies an analogous attitude toward materiality in these sculptures. These new works are examples of Beadle’s ability to merge painting, sculpture and installation, making a wealthy sense of line, dimension and texture.

Beadle’s carbonized mahogany carvings fuse quite a lot of natural wood textures into single compositions. In his circular wall sculptures, round indentations, thinly-etched lines and curving hollows mimic the varied textures found naturally in wood, allowing these different patterns to mix into each other. These natural patterns are echoed within the grain of the wood itself, which stays a distinguished feature of those pieces despite the carbonization of the wood.

The artist contrasts his circular carvings with two freestanding, upright picket sculptures. The natural shape of the tree is referenced in these rectangular pieces, continuing the motifs of naturalistic line work and engravings. Beadle sees all of his wood carvings as a sort of drawing — except that as an alternative of adding onto the prevailing material, these carvings require him to subtract from it, as one would do to a wood block for printmaking.

A select group of Beadle’s circular wall sculptures also incorporate metal, creating variance between organic and manmade resources and processes. Works like “Eden” place delicately carved and textured wood against brushed metal. These juxtapositions — between natural and manmade, textured and smooth, altered and untouched — are on the core of the artist’s practice.

“Splinters and Shards” also features 4 metal sculptures, two of which come from an older body of labor. These two — “Make yourself known…on the gate” (2013) and “Nevertheless airy the enclosure they inhabit…” (2013) — activate the fabric and aesthetic motifs of iron fences and transform them into human silhouettes.

“Make yourself known…on the gate” also features a small bell, which, if the title of the piece is to be taken literally, is supposed to alert those on the opposite side of the gate to our presence. This instruction to make ourselves known brings into mind the role of iron gates as barriers to entry, leaving the viewer to query what or who’s on the opposite side.

John Beadle (b. 1964, Nassau, Bahamas) is a multi-disciplinary artist and masterful artisan. Painter, sculptor and mixed media and installation artist, Beadle creates bodies of labor that touch on migration, labor, security and the perception of value given to certain materials, objects and folks.

Trained as a painter/printmaker, Beadle also has a formidable practice in the standard arts of Junkanoo, having served as a principal designer and sculptor within the One Family Junkanoo group.

Attributable to his reach and longevity, Beadle can be considered certainly one of the seminal artists of the contemporary Bahamian art scene.

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