• Blue Curry
    Title : Blue Curry
  • 1
    Title : 1
  • ball 1
    Title : ball 1
  • bc1
    Title : bc1
  • bc11
    Title : bc11
  • buoys 1(2)
    Title : buoys 1(2)
  • buoys 2
    Title : buoys 2
  • conch 1
    Title : conch 1
  • jaw 1
    Title : jaw 1
  • palm 1
    Title : palm 1
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    Title : spear 1
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    Title : spear 2

Artist Profile by Siofra McSherry

Imagine a package of contemporary art books washed up on the shore of a Caribbean island. The natives, in an educative spirit, attempt to mimic the conceptual art that these books represent with the materials they have to hand. A shark jaw. A rope of buoys set with Swarovski crystals. A discarded harpoon. Our analogy requires another shipwreck: a vessel carrying several tons of obsolete magnetic media wanders into these dangerous tropical waters, is wrecked and dumps its useless cargo on the beach where this process is underway. Magnetic media, separated from their technologies, are so often put to good misuse in developing societies; they become newly functional, put for the first time to an unforeseen practical use, or are appropriated for decoration.

One of Blue Curry‘s most striking pieces comprises a bull shark jaw suspended 3 metres high by a rope and pulley from the ceiling, from the mouth of which flows 567 hours of cassette tape, exhibited at the 2009 Goldsmith’s MFA show. People like the fact, Curry says, that the tapes are obsolete. Some guy’s entire heavy metal collection is in there. For Curry, however, a large part of the enjoyment lies in the material itself, the slick sexiness of the tape, the contrast between its cheap and readily available red-brown colour and the older, pure black chrome that takes a little more time and effort to locate. Unreeling, hanging and grooming the tape can take up to 50 hours. Curry likes to keep track of these figures, the amount of time and material consumed. There is a sense that these processes bring the object together, transform the limited and individual meanings represented by each reel of tape into one new and tactile thing.

Curry has a high profile in the Bahamas, and has been shown many times in the Bahamian National Gallery. He is the first Bahamian to qualify from Goldsmiths and his work has been chosen several times to represent the Bahamas internationally. He considers that it is best not to fight ‘the Bahamian thing’. Being the ‘white man from the Caribbean’ gives him permission to work with vocabularies of tropicalism, paradise, nativeness. Perhaps more importantly his local identity has given him access to the found materials that form the basis of many of his pieces. Curry’s work sits easily within a Caribbean context, as demonstrated in two of his 2009 shows, The Global Caribbean at Art Basel, Miami Beach and Rockstone and Bootheel at Real Art Ways, Connecticut. He has directly explored the consequences of removing materials from their Bahamian context in the 2006 work Like Taking Sand to the Beach: 1,927 lbs of sand were collected from a beach in the Bahamas and installed in the Nassauischer Kunstverein, Germany. 1,654 lbs were later returned to original location, with an eventual small but notable loss to the island itself, perhaps reflecting the artist’s experiences as a Bahamian establishing his home and practice in Europe.

Curry’s objects are thus guaranteed to encounter Western expectations of Caribbean art. Are these things souvenirs’ Are they cultural relics’ They edge into kitsch, but their stark formalism prevents them being thus categorised. They play with tropical imagery, they are true to their local and Bahamian provenance, but they are not intended for an audience that consumes tropicana. The contemporary art slickness of his materials takes us far from the naïf; in recent works he has painted polystyrene buoys black and studded them with crystals and set shining black floppy disks around a found diving spear. The ideal audience for this work can be found in the sophisticated art scenes of the West, London and Miami.

In the past, Curry’s work engaged much more explicitly with an archival practice, taking pains to justify itself through its connection with history. These days he avoids shouldering this dead weight, as he sees it, of either the local history of the Bahamas or the object-histories of his materials, and no longer sees a need to connect the sculptural image with personal research. Such an approach, he feels, does not leave space for the viewer to construct meanings, to reach out to meet the work, and tends to close down interpretation to the detriment of the sculpture. He prefers the word ‘iconic’ to describe his tactile, complex pieces, which in their formal beauty quietly justify themselves.

Blue Curry was born in Nassau, the Bahamas. He trained as a photographer at the University of Westminster before completing his MFA at Goldsmiths in 2009. He currently lives and works in London.
Future exhibitions include Global Caraïbes, Musée des Arts Modestes, Sète, France in June and anticipation in the Selfridges Ultralounge, London in September.

Works referenced

Like Taking Sand to the Beach, 2006
Untitled, rope, bull shark jaw, 567 hours cassette tape, 2009
Untitled, rope, polystyrene buoys, resin, crystal rhinestones, 2010
Untitled, steel diving spear, 750 megabytes floppy disk media, 2010

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