In collaboration with art critic Rob Perrée, Readytex Art Gallery has developed an informative initiative: An Eye for Art. Once every two weeks Rob Perrée discusses a work of art from the collection of Readytex Art Gallery. This week he talks about ‘Corn Rows I’, mixed media on canvas, 66 cm wide x 70 cm high, 2014, by Sri Irodikromo.
A regal portrait. This is how you portray dignity, this is what style looks like, this is what you call class. On the one hand this is due to the classic profile of the woman, corresponding to the classical ideals of beauty, much like the profiles of women in Egyptian tombs, but on the other hand the headdress has much to do with it.
At the same time the decorations on her head cause an enigma. It looks as though only her head is adorned, but the decorative elements continue throughout the work. Around the head they are just more accentuated, the colors are sharper, flaming almost. Towards the edges of the work they gradually disappear into nothingness.
Where they originate from remains unclear to me. It looks like a fusion of classical ornaments and Caribbean motifs. Maybe they are just made up and they are only intended to suggest those references. Do their origins really matter? What stands out is that a large part of the ornaments are rimmed with an extra lick of orange paint. It seems put on top of it. By doing so Sri Irodikromo strengthens the layers, the depth that the portrait already has. Moreover, these accents literally give luster to the whole. They play a major role in the color play that is so artfully played out in this work. From large contrasts to smooth transitions. From disappearing to appearing.
Titles are not meant to explain, but to give hints. ‘Corn Rows I’ doesn’t really seem like a title that likes to hint. Rows of corn? What should I think of that? Does the woman have something to do with planting corn? She is much too stately for that. Does the title then have something to do with hair that has been braided onto the head after all?
I have to make do with the certainty of a beautiful work with an uncertain meaning that partially derives its beauty from the mystery that surrounds it. A present-day sibling of the Mona Lisa?
TEXT Rob Perrée, Florence, May 2015
TRANSLATION Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld
Want to see this and other work of Sri Irodikromo ‘up close and personal’? That’s possible at Readytex Art Gallery, Steenbakkerijstraat 30, Paramaribo. www.readytexartgallery.com. For more information about Sri Irodikromo please visit the website http://readytexartgallery.com/sri.
This edition of An Eye for Art has been sent as a RAG-mailing on June 3, 2015 and was published in Kunst en Cultuur in de Ware Tijd on June 3, 2015.
Because really looking at art and understanding art are not always obvious and easy to do, we hope that these regular reviews will at least offer you some insight into the process. You will get to see how a connoisseur looks at art, discusses it, and then links the work to others within the international art world.
Of course you can only truly judge a work of art when you are actually standing in front of it yourself. We therefore hope to see you soon in Readytex Art Gallery and are eager to hear what you think of this artwork, and which other works of art you find yourself drawn to. Please note that the artworks discussed are still available for purchase at the time that the review is published.
Rob Perrée is art historian and works as freelance writer, art critic and curator, specialized in contemporary (Afro-) American art, African art, Surinamese art and art using new media. His work has appeared in countless catalogues, books, magazines and newspapers. He is editor of Sranan Art Xposed, editor in chief of Africanah.org and a member of the editing team of Pf Photo Magazine. His website: http://robperree.com.