The Sky Gallery, an elevating art space
To be transported to an undiscovered space and time, to be moved by someone’s work of art whether music, literature, drawings, or paintings is the transformative experience that Tara Brown, an avid collector of art, realtor, and entrepreneur, seeks for The Sky Gallery.
Made to become a hub for multidisciplinary creative expression, “that would, hopefully, serve as a welcoming platform for artists or creatives while at the same time acting as a medium for persons to enjoy and appreciate art,” Brown told The Gleaner that the gallery has already hosted a series of diversified art events.
She continued: “There are not enough spaces here for our artists. In doing real estate, I had to always be using art to decorate and had reached a period where I was literally hunting for art and artists. That’s where I started dabbling in finding out about local and regional artists and developed a real appreciation for art.”
Recalling conversations with persons within her close circle, Brown said that on more than one occasion, she promised that she would open an art gallery that would feature the artwork of her friends who were artists.
“During my years in university, I would have spent a month and a half hopping around Europe visiting the galleries in places such as Paris, Amsterdam, Germany, and Sweden. I knew I wanted to open a gallery but was uncertain when and where. I even told the owner of a company I worked for that I would create one and do an exhibition specifically for his art,” Brown shared.
“It’s been a beautiful experience. Coupling everything I’m used to doing when putting together other spaces has allowed me to design the gallery in a way people can receive the space and the art pieces in a very interactive way,” she added.
Opened a little over three months ago, the rooftop gallery, located on Phoenix Avenue in St Andrew, has committed to film nights held every third Friday of every month and has hosted four major exhibitions, including Women in Art, Vib(e)ration: Reggae in Art, Men in Art, and Linea Pura in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain, which is the current showcase of pieces by Valencian painter Eduardo Bermejo. This collection of black and white canvases depicting spatio-temporal scenarios with abstract characters was flown in by the painter to Jamaica for an exhibition two years ago but then the pandemic hit Brown said.
“La verdad es belleza. La belleza no se mira. La belleza se siente,” the phrase painted at the start of the exhibition forces an individual to stop, read and create their own interpretations – of what simply means, “Truth is beauty. Beauty is not seen. Beauty is felt” – of the collection. Fortunate for many who wished to speak to and share their critique with the artist, a Spanish educator by the name of Mickella Marshall, would become a human lifesaver assisting as a translator. She quickly pointed out in the introduction to Bermejo, that he emphasises, “no soy un artist [I am not an artist]”, and while struggling to speak it, he has no trouble incorporating the English translation into a painting.
“Nowadays art has become more commercialised; we find that everybody is an artist but more so, out of being interested in its earning power, not for the true appreciation for art. What we now consider an artist today, I do not see myself that way,” he said. “We forget when a person enters a museum, it is about the feeling it evokes and brings out in them, their connection with the painting. It’s also about what it brings out in me, what I am is not important but more so, the passion for art.”
Bermejo further explained that unlike many artists, he did not want to do paintings that shouted at the viewer but instead wants to do paintings that speak about humans and their emotions, “something that was not superficial”. Drawing on the post-modernism era, and giving new meaning to his own artistic expression, one of the salient characteristics of the Linea Pura collection, are the clean lines.
“That’s what makes this the perfect space for this exhibition. It is very clean; it has a lot of space, its white setting was appropriate,” he said, noting the extension of art on to the white walls of The Sky Gallery, “which has a lot of space and is also a great atmosphere, friendly and nice”.
Language barrier aside, the interaction with Bermejo can be defined as an elevating one. He has a goal to return to Jamaica not only for future exhibitions of his art, but in search of opportunities to engage the local art community.
“Your actions define you, but real art is what speaks about the impact it will have and how the people describe it. I want to return to get involved in things like murals but also to be able to collaborate with artists, not just in terms of work, but in terms of building the community,” Bermejo offered.