Cielo Salazar of The Idea Agency, a PR firm in Dubai tracked me down on twitter and invited me to the 20th anniversary exhibition of the Opera Gallery in DIFC. I was more than happy to see the work of this wonderful French artist Jean-Pierre Roc-Roussey.
"The exhibition, The Woman, The Myth, The Mystery, that will be on display till 25th June 2014 is a real exploration of the baroque painting style of this reputed and respected artist in the contemporary art scene, and draws us into a fantastic world of myths and legends, where our subconscious governs over all. Indeed, Jean-Pierre Roc-Roussey uses myths and themes from Neo-Classicism and the Renaissance, mixed with elements from the Middle Ages and Oriental civilisations. His work is mainly focused on women warriors, amazons, Greek goddesses, samurai women or African dancers, creating a new form of exoticism with mysterious realm."Okay I copied that from the PR release that she sent me just to give you an idea of what this particular exhibition is all about. I don't think I could have written it in a more succinct and at the same time informative manner.
The first thing that struck and delighted me were the amazing use of warm hues by Roc. I'm going to call him that because it's easier, fun and he's a rocstar. His paintings are a graceful dance of cultures and a languid movement of form and colour. Oriental features, Arab turbans, powerful feminine forms draw you in to their world alive with music that you can almost hear in the silent tinkling of gold anklets.
And then there really was music. The beautiful Raquel Reina performed to the Bolero. Her elegant and subtly sensual performance had everyone mesmerised. The painting in the background seemed to breathe life into the danseuse as she did the same for the artist's canvas.
This piece has to be my favourite amongst all his work so naturally I asked Ankita to take a picture of me with it. I didn't dare ask the price. I'm quite sure I cannot afford it but I was glad to be able to gaze upon the serene woman ensconced in a beautifully controlled whirlwind of snowy foam. This canvas can calm the most troubled mind.
And that's Ankita's favourite in black and gold hues.
The lower floor of the gallery houses artists like Chagall, Miro and Picasso to name a few. This painting stole my heart. I love the fact that this canvas lends itself to a story. I could imagine a serene lake with young people swimming with abandon and gaiety. Again I wouldn't dare ask if it's for sale or how much it costs. And again I was so glad to gaze upon it for a long time. I couldn't help but smile.
And this sculpture about one and a half feet long moved me deeply. Half woman half reptile warrior woman lies atop a blade which might cut her in half should she slip from her precarious resting place. There is a grief in this piece, the knowing that she needs to be a woman and a monster and live with the knowledge of imminent destruction.
And that's life for you. All of us acrobats jumping from one situational comedy or tragedy to the next all the while throwing brilliant shadows on the blank canvas that is time.
I come to the end of this post with this lovely picture of Cielo, Ankita, me, an art critic whose name I forget and Ada (L to R). So let me thank you dear Cielo for inviting me to this amazing place. There are many other galleries in the same space and if you live in Dubai and have even a passing interest in art you must visit!