BRATTLEBORO—Roxcell Bartholomew explores the psychological impact of his personal and cultural history in his first solo gallery show, “Melting Pot,” at 118 Elliot.
These recent paintings employ a technique of enhanced automatic painting where the artist “allows the composition to develop freely without premeditation then refines the image into a colorful dreamscape that seems to have materialized as an architectural detail,” a technique described in a news release for the show.
Bartholomew was born in St. Vincent, an island in the Caribbean that is home to Garifuna, an Afro Caribbean community that developed from the intermingling of the indigenous people and people escaping from enslavement in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Bartholomew lost touch with much of his personal and cultural roots when he moved to the United States in his teens.
After entering the U.S. military at 21, his interest in drawing and painting helped him cope with the high-stress environment and provided a safe place to reflect on his life path and connect with his cultural history.
He said his current work is a response to the weight of life in the “melting pot” and the necessary task of mindfully reconnecting with his culture.
“Painting has always been my way of introspecting and processing my experiences,” he said in a news release.
“Whenever I’m creating, there is no choice but to be present within the space called ‘me,’ and that eventually always leads me back to my roots,” Bartholomew continued. “I simply try my best to breathe life into the surreal colorscapes and feelings that arise within my stream of consciousness.”