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HomeArts-EntertainmentExhibitionsBajo El Sol to Open Exhibit of ‘Tangentleman Prophecies’ on June 15

Bajo El Sol to Open Exhibit of ‘Tangentleman Prophecies’ on June 15

William Stelzer – “The goddess Icarissa flies to close to the sun and incinerates the universe” (Submitted photo)

Bajo El Sol Gallery will hold an opening at 5 p.m., Saturday, June 15, for its next exhibit ‘Tangentleman Prophecies’ in Mongoose Junction, St. John.

In a 2015 article and interview in the Caribbean contemporary art publication ARC Magazine, St. Thomian artist Jon Euwema coined the word ‘Tangentleman’ to describe himself. According to Euwema, a ‘tangentleman’ – as in a gentleman on a tangent – follows an intensely digressive and sometimes tongue-in-cheek approach towards self-expression, following threads of association wherever they may lead with no fixed idea of final truths.

For the exhibition “Tangentleman Prophecies” Euwema joins St. John’s William ‘Bill’ Stelzer — a fellow ‘tangentleman’ artist — for an interactive, multimedia melding of reimagined pasts and possible futures.

“Calypso” by Jon Euwema (Submitted photo)

In true tangentleman form, Euwema describes his recent anthropomorphic assemblages, titled “Creatures from the Past” as “true & true island non-binary time-encapsulated pieces.” Their construction mines artifacts and family heirlooms – some more than 175 years old — connected to Virgin Islands’ cultural and architectural heritage.

“Components seem to find me and speak to me based on mood and the possibilities or limitations of the material,” Euwema said. “They make their way into the studio and are re-imagined and repurposed in compositions that transfix the materials as characters, totems and fetishes.”

Objects used in the assemblages include historic building staples, West Indian shutter bars and holders, cowrie shells and even a pencil sharpener that belonged to Eudora Kean, Euwema’s family member for whom one of St. Thomas’s high schools is named.

Euwema’s “Creature from the Past” are joined in the gallery by digitally-constructed glimpses into potential futures prophesized by Bill Stelzer. As an artist specializing in digital media, Stelzer has recently become fascinated with the possibilities and pitfalls of artificial intelligence.

In his series of works on display at Bajo El Sol Gallery, Stelzer has combined man-made digital art with renderings by artificial intelligence to imagine new deities and supernatural beings that will guide humanity’s new relationship with A.I. Also, Stelzer has incorporated immersive technology into these works with which viewers can use their smartphones to be further drawn into dimensions beyond what is visible without technology.

“Indio” by Jon Euwema (Submitted photo)

Stelzer said, “This is a somewhat whimsical, somewhat nerve-wracking glimpse into the future of Artificial Intelligence, using A.I. generated imagery and augmented reality to tell the story of a new pantheon of gods poised to now endow machines and technology with the skills and knowledge they had once gifted to us.”

Jon Euwema is a St. Thomian architect/designer, visual artist and poet who comes from a long family line of Virgin Islands artists. His works often present a critical vision of island society skewed and refracted by an irreverent sense of humor. He was one of several Virgin Islands visual artists included in a presentation given on USVI contemporary art at Casa de las Americas in Havana, Cuba, in 2015, and he returned again to Havana in 2017 for the group show “My Islands Do Not Make a Nation.”

Euwema describes his creative process as a strategy for finding freedom from established power structures and institutional authority. His assemblages and site-specific installations frequently deal with Pan-African motivations, rhizomatic cultural networks, and transatlantic collective memory.

“Hope” by William Stelzer (Submitted photo)

William “Bill” Stelzer is a freelance artist/filmmaker specializing in digital media. He has worked on a wide array of documentary and commercial projects in the Virgin Islands. Prior to living in the Virgin Islands, he worked as graphics director for the ABC-TV affiliate in Central Texas and as a special effects director using computer and model animation for accident reconstructions.

He was also part of a research expedition into the Venezuelan Amazon to study burial cave artwork, shot documentary footage on a Peruvian glacier, and produced mini-documentaries in Haiti, Nicaragua, St. John and Florida. He has shown his work at venues that include the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He teaches classes in photography at the St. John School of the Arts.

Located at Mongoose Junction on St. John, Bajo El Sol Gallery and Art Bar is a hybrid art gallery, bookstore, café, rum and cocktail bar. As a gallery and events space, Bajo El Sol is dedicated to offering the best in Virgin Islands fine art and cultural expression.


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