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Local Artists Display Blacktip Island’s Pre-Raphaelite Heritage

pre-raphaelites

“The Mirror of Venus” has been reimagined to feature the Eagle Ray Cove dive staff in Marina DeLow’s “Narcissus at the Booby Pond.” The painting, and others, will be on display Saturday at Sandy Bottoms’ Beach Resort. (photo courtesy of Yelkrokoyade)

Blacktip Island’s artistic roots will be on display this Saturday at Sandy Bottoms’ Beach Resort for the Blacktip Arts School Society’s Neo-Pre-Raphaelite Art Show and Auction, with proceeds going to local art students.

“People don’t realize what a thriving arts scene we have on Blacktip,” show organizer Reg Gurnard said. “The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood has a long, if underappreciated, influence on Blacktip.

“The Rossetti family often wintered here in the 1850s,” Gurnard said. “Dante Gabriel taught painting classes at the island school, and Christina first read her Goblin Market to our Sunday school children. Some say the tropical light and lush colors were an inspiration for the Pre-Raphaelite style.”

Fellow painter Ginger Bass concurred.

“We try to stay as true as possible to the original strictures of the PRB,” she said. “Not copying, but rather, perpetuating their style and sensibility with a modern tropical flare. That’s where the ‘neo’ comes in.

“Rather than Lady Godiva on her horse, we have a Divemaster Godiva riding nude on a dolphin,” Bass added. “With her hair flowing strategically to cover any naughty bits, of course.”

Some in the community found the artwork objectionable.

“It’s smut disguised as art,” said the Reverend Pierre Grunt. “I mean, have you seen the ‘The Lady of Sandy Bottoms’ Herring Frye did? And don’t even get me started on Cal Batten’s ‘Ophelia and the Conchs.”

Others decried the paintings’ esthetic.

“This stuff was all the rage what, 150 years ago?” local artist and bartender Cori Anders said. “There’s nothing new about it. Never mind that the Pre-Raphaelites’ central tenet was to reject the commonplace and conventional.

“There’s so much contemporary art that better shows off Blacktip’s creative chops,” Anders said. “Just look at the exciting things Jerrod’s doing with flotsam and jetsam. And Dermott’s work with beer bottles? Words fail me.”

The show will feature a juried competition, and will conclude with the auction of all paintings.

“The goal’s to give back to our community,” resort owner Sandy Bottoms said. “Folks get to enjoy looking at these pictures, then all the auction proceeds go to the kids. Minus expenses. Expenses can be high on Blacktip.”

The show will also feature Pre-Raphaelite-inspired poetry during an open-mike session preceding the auction, with any PRB-related works welcomed.

Victorian-era treats will also be served, including mock turtle soup, brandy snaps à la crème and fried celery.

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