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Marching along the West Coast

Carolle Bourne

Marching along the West Coast

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Already crusing into the middle of the second month of the year, the Gallery of Caribbean Art is looking ahead to next month when a familiar guest returns for another intriguing exhibition.
In a sneak preview from the Speightstown cultural centre, we learn that Asher Mains has been busy in Texas. Sitting on the easel in the painting area of the studio is a series of small works: 12-inch by 16-inch individual portraits in oil.
“Very loose and dripping, can be seen through the many layers of the surface of the canvas. These are obviously Caribbean people, with the mix of races apparent.”
The artist clarifies: “These are inspired by a song from [1960s musical band] The Doors – When you’re strange, faces come out of the rain, when you’re strange, no one remembers your name. Eventually, there will be 12 of them.”    
And why 12?
“Because the calendar is a fractal and 12 months represent a year of self-similar, self-repeating days. Your use of a day is similar to your use of a year. The small Caribbean islands are a fractal of the larger space and we are really one people. We don’t look all that different.”  
Quoting Chinese American artist Hung Liu, Asher rationalizes his extensive use of the human figure in his paintings.
“Every history should have some human faces; a concrete peasant face might tell you more than the text in history books.”
Last here in early 2010, Asher may be of American descent but his actual upbringing was in Barbados’ sister Caribbean isle of Grenada.
The title of his show is Everything Is Peachy In Babylon. Peachy is represented by a young girl, stencilled on to various multicoloured backgrounds.    
Amidst the art-making, Asher is currently studying for a Master’s degree in international political economy at the University of Texas in Dallas.