Human Care under Actual Circumstances – Wang Zhongwen

Human Care under Actual Circumstances
– Consideration on Bryan McFarlane’s Works

We are honored to have Mr. Bryan McFarlane’s solo exhibition in the Sunshine International Art Museum, and I am expecting more in-depth understandings of his works and their motive and sources through this exhibition. Mr. Bryan McFarlane was born in Jamaica, his early growth and educational experiences were spent there. Graduated from the famous Edna Manley College,Bryan chose to further his study and art creation in America by teaching in several universities there. Bryan has strong curiosity on other culture which drives him to leave his familiar frames continuously and to travel and visit other parts of the world; these passionate and practical activities, to some extent, become cornerstone of his creation. He also has a keen interest in Chinese culture. Currently he is working and living in China.

Although we are not familiar with the emotions in Bryan’s works expressed through his symbolic system and language, we can also feel his dedication and passion for art when appreciating his works. Most of Bryan’s works can be classified into abstract expressionism which is the experience of life beyond experience and to express one’s own idea through emotion. Meanwhile the Jamaican or the Caribbean cultural influence is also evident. Bryan received good realistic painting training, and on this basis, he constantly evolves and forms his own iconography from his Jamaican background and many other cultures, so we can feel other artistic schools’ influences in his works. He draws inspiration from essential factors. His works are not grand narration, but micro images of art elements from special individual choice of natural objects. The dynamic overlapping dots touching the viewers by symbolic and iconic devices with color and rhythm. When the artist explores the ancient civilization and national symbols and try to distill them through personal iconography, the elements become figurative and powerful with expressive color in their abstract
context. Words as Metaphysics, Broken, Journey, Unexploded, and Yoke are vocabulary of the titles of Bryan’s works. Part of these language fragments are echoes to the elements of those context and reflects the artist’s subjective experience and
consideration on the broken situation in the postcolonial context and the people’s experience which correspond with their ‘broken situation’. This “hybrid” is also an important concept of Homi F. Bhabha. The combination of indigenous traditions and
remnants of colonial empires produce a new post-colonial way of expression, full of hybridity, complexity and ambiguity. In the post-modern pluralistic society, more expressions are multi-ethnic people’s inner state, without specific identities.

Contemporary arts have different responsibilities and destinies in different cultural contexts. This human diversity and difference prompts us to be concerned commonly with a profound way to feed back into this complex world; these value recognition is therefore built on the basis of an extended vision with superior goals. And cultural integration, as long as they are reasonable, legal, equitable dialogues and exchanges, or for the actual circumstances during the process of modernization. This approach is worthy of our attention and study, and is a unique contemporary local “experience”.

Any noble soul comprises intelligence, courage, tenacity, and mercy. Instead of blindly criticizing or internalizing dominant cultures, or blindly inheriting the vestiges of traditional cultures, what is truly important for us is to consider, how to go about
this responsibly and how to adhere to the common values of human beings.

Wang Zhongwen
Executive Curator, Sunshine International Art Museum