Stanwyck E. Cromwell
I am a Guyanese-born contemporary visual artist, and an art educator, who has lived and worked in the United States of America for the past 38 years. My memories of Guyana are rich and abundant, but the most striking are the physical, and aesthetics distances, between the cultures of Guyana and the United States of America. A visual kaleidoscope from this exotic place is referenced in my art. These references serve as visual footnotes to my artmaking practice, by allowing me a rich palette of sights from which to draw. The yellows of lemons and bananas are different, so are the oranges found in sunsets versus tangerines. The subtle colors reflected in the tropical landscape, its animal life and inhabitants are revisited in my art.
Saturated colors, patterns and textures reveal themselves in my collages, sculptures, paintings and drawings. Sometimes, my subject matter is abstract forms, while other artwork is about self. My self-portraits are both autobiographical and mythical mirrors, through which I’m able to reflect on, from my past, by reminiscing about the Guyana that I once knew as a child. Sometimes rendered in graphite and colored pencils, sometimes collaged on with various papers, or found objects, my work celebrates the legacy of my Guyanese heritage. Therefore, for this reason, color is central in my work.
A wide nose and thick lips are frequent in most of my work. I use these features not as cultural stereotypes, but to emphasize the natural beauty of African features. I am drawn to these features, and continue to use them in my work, because I find them sculpturally strong, ruggedly handsome and spiritually connected to my work. The multicolored, mask-like images and abstract designs in my drawings reflect the fusion of both the Guyanese-African and indigenous cultures and the rich pageantry of carnival.
Most of the objects and symbols in my work are used metaphorically and vary in interpretation, based on the context in which they are applied. The process applied in my artmaking allows me to stretch my imagination above and beyond its elasticity, thus dismantling cultural stereotypes and dogmas. In summarizing my work, I have chosen to use my Guyanese past, including cultural and religious practices, as hybrids for my Guyanese-American experiences. Therefore, my work is an embodiment of all my experiences as a human being, and as a Guyanese-born artist. In view of the above, I trust that you will find my work visually and spiritually stimulating.
Website: stanwyckcromwell dot com