Robyn Miller, Contributor
Set on lush sloping lands, mounds of Blue Mountains hugging every inch of them, Stafford Schliefer could not have chosen a better location for his 'Potpourri' exhibition of 28 new works on a warm December afternoon.
It was the first for the artist since his last exhibition with Alexander Cooper in 'Masters: Alexander Cooper and Stafford Schliefer', in April 2012, at the Mutual Gallery in Kingston.
The respected Jamaican artist, who once likened his affinity to paint to "breathing", turned the charming home of fellow artist and art collector Wayne Gallimore Benjamin into a breezy gallery that simply made the evening spectacular for the many familiar faces that turned out.
A stone's throw from the usually busy town of Papine, the character-filled Belcour Lodge created great ambience as they delighted in Schliefer's Potpourri, a string of mellow Jamaican music and delectables, courtesy of Schliefer's partner, University of the West Indies Professor Silvia Kouwenberg.
There's a subtle yet bursting energy in Schliefer's art that immediately grabs your attention. Big on abstract with his mixed media collages and acrylics, he is never one to go over the top, yet his tonality inspires sufficiently to capture its audience.
Lending themselves to various interpretations, Kouwenberg noted the rare quality in the works of the artist who, she said, has an "uncanny ability to produce images" and continues to fashion his art from "the masters". Citing 'The Man Who Hung His Heart on A Christmas Tree' as a perfect example, she said depending on the lens with which the works were viewed, one might be inclined to attach a particular meaning, something which, she said, spoke to the brilliance of the artist.
'Pocomankunnu Dancer' and 'Poet of Patriotism' came up big among several other eye-catching pieces. Describing the former as a favourite, Schliefer called it a "dichotomy", as he explained how, as a child, he was literally terrorised by the frightful pocomania-jumping jonkunnu dancers.
Remaining true to the Jamaican cultural traditions, he continued with the idyllic 'Helshire' and 'Pickney Masquerade' and two rather interesting conversation pieces, 'Annie Palmer and the Butler' and 'Annie Palmer and the Stable Boy', perhaps the closest thing to the erotica the self-taught artist is known to infuse in his work.
Private viewings of Potpourri, which has been extended to December 29, can be done by calling 849-4189.