By Susan Mains Gallery
(LaVanda Mireles, far left and Susan Mains far right. Photo credit: Susan Mains Gallery)
Thursday evening at Spiceland Mall, Susan Mains Gallery featured the opening reception for LaVanda Mireles’ new work in a solo exhibit titled Contact Lens. Grenada’s creative community was out in force to celebrate and support this new, exciting work and to bear witness to Grenada’s growing role as a creative incubator in the world #grenadaartisland. Mireles studied art at Regis University, came to Grenada in 2016 and purged all of her art from her collection up to that point. Since being in Grenada, Mireles’ art practice was invariably influenced by her experiencing this new and different environment. Contact Lens represents an artist fully engaging with transitioning to life in Grenada and engaging in materials and processes that reflect how her identity was affected. Mireles’ summarizes her process for Contact Lens:
“As an artist, my goal is to explore how common, found and everyday objects can be used to create art. My principal medium is the cyanotype, although previous work also incorporated paint, pencil, mixed media, and sometimes my own writings.
Cyanotype is a contact print process on a UV light sensitive surface. Traditionally, this type of process was used to make copies of engineering and technical drawings or architectural floor plans. This is where the term ‘blueprint’ comes from, as the monochromatic blue color is a result of two different chemicals after exposure to light and development in water. The first photographic book was created with the cyanotype process.
All mixing and application of the cyanotype sensitizer happens in low light, almost in complete darkness. Exposing requires UV light and happens as soon as the sensitized print makes contact with light. The environment in which I make this type of art is evident in the prints themselves. Most of the objects used were found in and around my house or washed up on various beaches here in Grenada. I expose all of my prints outdoors in different types of daylight.
While the cyanotype process is an act of engagement requiring careful planning and execution, I enjoy making my prints imperfect by leaving much to chance. My prints are not replicas of technical drawings, rather they are figures, places and abstractions. I am painterly with the chemicals and use objects as components of the composition.
My overall aim is to represent a broad notion of isolation. In Contact Lens, the figures I depict seek connection with other beings and their environment. By looking through a lens, the figures are protecting themselves yet at the same time searching.”
(LaVanda Mireles onlooking with guest. Photo Credit: Susan Mains Gallery)
As a still emerging artist, Mireles’ work was priced to sell and the red dots on the labels indicated the communities approval. After three days of exhibiting the work there are only 4 pieces still available for sale. LaVanda’s work is alluring on several levels; they are beautifully executed, vulnerable and ultimately a product of what Grenada can do to people. Contact Lens will be open until Saturday, October 14th, treat yourself to a visit to Susan Mains Gallery at Spiceland Mall International, Morne Rouge, Grenada.
Susan Mains Gallery is committed to enlarging the tent of contemporary art in Grenada. Through one-man shows, group exhibits, engagement in international events, Grenada is becoming known as #grenadaartisland.
The next event will be the opening of the 4th Grenada Contemporary Exhibit on Friday 27th Oct at 5.30 pm. This will showcase local, regional, and international contemporary art under the theme, “Westindian”. All are welcome.