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Wednesday 13 December 2017
The Arts

50 years of Hinkson watercolours

Jackie Hinkson celebrates half a century of capturing our native light and sights in watercolour.

The much admired artist will mark the milestone with the opening of a three-week exhibition and the launch of Hinkson’s new book, The Light in Paint: 50 Years of Watercolour on Tuesday, followed by a free, public lecture by the British curator and art historian, Tim Wilcox on October 3 at 6 pm at the The Art Society of Trinidad and Tobago.

The celebration, sponsored by bpTT, will take place at the society’s headquarters at St Vincent Avenue, Federation Park.

Hinkson’s adventures in art began while at Queen’s Royal College, where he and masman Peter Minshall became friends. He later benefited from the incisive critiques of Minshall’s father, Wilson, an accomplished painter and graphic artist. At 19, he received his first formal, if cautious, praise from then art critic Derek Walcott who in his review of the Five Young Artists show wrote: “Jackie Hinkson’s low keyed still-lifes have a poetic economy which is to be commended.”

Talent and hard work earned Hinkson an art scholarships to study in Paris and Canada where he absorbed the early influence of masters like Cezanne, Turner, and Winslow Homer. But in the end he found his most sustaining inspiration in his native land and he returned to Trinidad permanently in 1970.

Fifty years later, Hinkson still embraces the challenges of “plein air” watercolour painting, executed outdoors beyond the safety and controlled comfort of the studio. In the process he has emerged, for all his command of other art forms, as a highly accomplished watercolourist, stated a media release.

His work has attracted local comparisons to Michel-Jean Cazabon and precise praise from a number of international art critics. One such critic is Dr Timothy Wilcox, who in 2013 authenticated the National Museum’s Cazabon paintings. A 2011 Wilson article on Hinkson, entitled His Place in Time, will also appear in the The Light in Paint—50 Years of Watercolour, published by Paria Press.

The exhibition will draw on Hinkson’s large body of watercolours that reflect a wide range of Caribbean life: from domestic still-lifes to the changing cityscapes that starkly reflect how traditional TT, for better or worse, has morphed into modernity. Working across these varied subjects, he has distilled fundamental shapes and lights into a painterly vocabulary of the Caribbean.

In the words of Derek Walcott, “Hinkson could want no better epitaph, the further away the happier for his country, than ‘he got the light right’.”

The free exhibition closes on October 21 and opens to the public from 10am to 5pm, Monday - Saturday. Works will not be on sale.

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