Dec. 4, 2003 – In what promises to be a happy marriage of art and artisan work, there'll be some things old, some things new, nothing necessarily borrowed but definitely some things blue at Friday's Mango Tango Art Gallery opening on St. Thomas.
New artwork by William B. Thompson and vintage West Indian furniture restored to new glory by Sean Krivatch will share the spotlight, with the duo 2 Blue Shoes providing musical backup.
Thompson will be showing more than 25 recent works on canvas and hardboard which range in size from 11 by 14 inches to 4 by 6 feet.
Krivatch will be represented by a collection of old and antique Caribbean mahogany furniture, ceramics pieces and baskets.
Thompson is a mixed media artist who draws, paints and overdraws using conte crayon, pencil, acrylic paint and oil pastel, producing "exuberant, bright paintings with bold texture," according to Mango Tango owner Jane Coombes.
He says his objective is "to capture the essence of an area or subject — not only in how it looks and relates to the viewer, but also, and perhaps more importantly, how it feels." The viewer's emotional response to imagery "is integral to my work and takes priority over reality," he says, adding that color, composition and choice of media are his "emotional barometers."
Mango Tango was introduced to Thompson's work about 10 years ago when the law firm where he was then working while waiting to pass the V.I. bar exam sent two of his large works on paper to be framed. He passed the bar, practiced law briefly and then, according to Coombes, "started creating paintings with a signature style that found their way into corporate and collections throughout the United States, the Caribbean and Europe."
Thompson says he "is committed to a lifetime effort of creating a body of work" which he hopes "is undeniable in its persistence and growth."
Krivatch with his wife, Allison, operated the highly regarded furniture restoration and preservation shop Atlantique on Crystal Gade from 1992 to 2000. He learned woodworking and furniture restoration in Ireland. After he moved to St. Thomas, West Indian furniture became his passion, and he soon became an expert in the field.
He has lectured to an American School of Interior Design group on St. Thomas. And he has been involved with the annual Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas antiques, art and collectibles auction since its inception five years ago, working to add notable West Indian furniture items to each year's event. While he now has a successful career in telecommunications, his avenues for obtaining antiques and other vintage furnishings from throughout the Caribbean remain in open.
Participation in the gallery exhibition represents the first collaboration between Krivatch and Mango Tango, which is the St. Thomas agent for the Whim Museum line of Danish West Indian colonial furniture reproductions. "Seeing the gallery's commitment to selling historically correct furniture, Krivatch proposed to obtain antique furniture and let the gallery market it," Coombes said.
2 Blue Shoes — in the persons of John Brittain on guitar and Mango Tango co-owner Smokey Pratt on flute, harmonica and vocals — has been performing on St. Thomas for nearly a decade. The duo is known for its interpretations of Tom Waits, Randy Newman, Bob Dylan and Taj Mahal. In addition to their personal arrangements (which they sometimes refer to as "derangements") of favorite musicians' music, the two also perform original tunes.
"Suit of Worried Blues," "Alien Bar" and "Women Who Made Gun Powder When They Were Girls" are classic Shoes blues. And yes, they'll have CDs available for purchase at the opening.
The reception opening the new exhibition is from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday in the gallery located in Al Cohen's Plaza atop Raphune Hill. The show will be in place for a month. For more information, call 777-3060.
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