First attempt at Kinetic Art done by Guy Beckles while still a student at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, U.S.A. – 1975
In A Blind World The One Eye Man Is King
37″ X 35″ X 10″
Wood, aluminum louvers
In A Blind World, the One-Eye Man is King
“Dans le royaume des aveugles, les borgnes sont rois.”
Say it in English, say it in French, people just love to show off.This work shows the grimace of a smile, and the confident “wink” of knowing one has “the edge” over the other.
But then soon after, it is the turn of the other to wink and smile.
Neither is aware that he is being ridiculed. Each one thinks he is “on top”.
Talk about dramatic irony, when the viewer, through the “third eye”,
sees clearly, the fickleness of competition and comparison.
Who really wins?
When will we learn to share our talent for each other’s benefit?
When do we open our eyes…
and see our need to “give” that which we have so freely “received”.
How The Rose Grows .. In order for you to go home to smell the roses,
Someone has to go home smelling like cow sh_t.
28″x 9″x 9″
Acrylic tubes and chromed iron
How the Rose Grows
In order for you to go home to smell the roses, someone has to go home smelling like cow sh_t.
The message is clear!
Quite simply, someone has to pay.The proud hostess receives her plaudits for the beautiful floral arrangement.The gardener isn’t even in the background.
“Massa” creams off from the top with a fine china ladle.
But how did that cream come about?Jump high, jump low, someone had to pay.Somewhere there is a sweaty slave in that picture.Someone has to rub an aching hand.Someone has to nurse the sore “green” thumb.Someone has to scrub off the smell of manure; of cow shit.Yes, someone has to pay.However, in the end, it may be “massa”. . . things aren’t always what they seem.
Each has his need, and that need, admittedly or otherwise, is one for the other.This work moves up and down and up cannot be without down.Rose cannot be without thorn.
Dem Belly Full But Dem Hungry
21″x 16″x 3″
Dem Belly Full But Dem Hungry
This piece reeks of authenticity as it is made from an actual chicken coop.
It also reeks of a disgusting reality of life.
The two roosters at the forefront are pecking away at a now empty “dish”, once full of corn.They are envied by the rooster who remains in the background and more significantly, they are supremely aware of this and bursting with misplaced pride.
This piece speaks to our greed, our spiritual yearning, even though materially fed.It also amplifies our conceit and our arrogance; our need to be better than ….
Reconstruction – We excavate our past and rebuild it in the future.
38″ x 58″ x 4″
Cardboard, coloured paper
Reconstruction . . .
We Excavate our Past and Rebuild it in the Future
The revolving triangular columns reveal three different images portraying the past, present and future.
As the name implies, in these interconnected tapestries and as bandied about in myriad clichés – ” we learn from experience or are destined to repeat lessons not learned”.
We excavate our past to reconstruct it in the present and thence, ultimately to benefit in the future.
Mary, Lambs and Wolves – Mary’s little lambs are now raised by wolves.
26″ x 18″ x 11″
Mary, Lambs and Wolves …
Mary’s Little Lambs are now Raised by Wolves
This piece is about the realities of life in today’s world!
Imagine yourself as a lamb being raised by wolves …
How precarious a position in which to find yourself!
This piece is black and white.It is stark!
You are living on the edge, a situation with which so many of today’s youth identify.
They have to contend with the dangers of cocaine and other substance-abuse practices, AIDS, and a variety of social ills!Many see their parents as wolves and many parents act that part well.
Never before have there been so many examples…
restraining orders, domestic abuse, single parents, dysfunctional parents, no parents…
Life and living in these times is tenuous to say the least.
This piece epitomizes fear, mistrust and uncertainty!
Get Something And Wave
44″ x24″ x17″
Get Something and Wave
Each wave celebrates as it rushes, roaring to the shore.And each dies away so soon, recognizing that its glory is only “reflected”. None is just like the one before but they are so, so similar. And they all give praise. Whether three-feet or ten feet, they all die the same death, at a gentle shore.Each does its best in the moment that it has.
“…there is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fame and fortune…”
Each of us has a duty to do the same, to enjoy, to give thanks and praise; to seize the moment.
This work speaks of harmonious celebration.It speaks of jumping in a masquerade carnival band in Trinidad and Tobago.It speaks of the “Mexican Wave” at a football match.It speaks of the light-hearted celebration of fun in unison. It speaks of “joie de vivre”. It speaks of symmetry, equality, and one’s best.
Just The Two Of Us
22″ x 17″ x 8″
Photographs, bottle-caps, reflective semi-spheres
Just the Two of Us
This piece is a self portrait of the Artist in different moods, showing a variety of expressions, reflected by photographs of his face which appear and disappear on the surface of the eight hemi-spheres.These images are elusive; imperceptible at times.
Symbolically, they alternate between masking of feelings and fleeting revelations;
our attempts to hide our strengths and our weaknesses … as we perceive them.
However, self portraits usually capture only the evident dominant facial expression, at the time it is being painted. In this piece though, the Artist seeks to reveal various expressions of himself. The deliberate intent was to simply illustrate more rounded and realistic impressions of the self; his characteristics; his idiosyncrasies.
A chance remark from a friend who saw her own image in the hemi-spheres and the name was born, “Just the Two of Us”… and how appropriate!
Isn’t one’s image of oneself coloured by the view of another?
Isn’t it in someone else that we are fulfilled, become complete?
We complement each other, even in contradiction!
And are not thoughts of each other communicated in the meeting of eyes,
“the windows of the soul”?
Twice A Child
24″ x 46″ x 28″
Twice A Child
Unlike “Once a Man”, there is no underlying philosophical nor social statement being made here, other than the appeal to children and to the child in each of us.
As a result, “Twice a Child” may well be making the most profound statement of all!
The artist’s motivation in developing this piece is perhaps the greatest testimony to the joy, the colour and the unbridled fun that it brings.
When the artist’s first-born twin boys had to be hospitalized for a simple procedure, he was moved by the pain and loneliness experienced by children with more serious ailments. The gargantuan task faced by the inadequate number of nurses who were called upon to mother, tend and care for these young people in pain also touched and motivated.
The artist noted that there was nothing to relieve that starkness of the ward.There were no toys. The walls were bare; not a picture, no smiling face other than those of the overburdened nurses.
Thus was “Twice a Child” born; out of a collection of broken and discarded (and shh! stolen) toys which belonged to his twins.It is a miniature amusement park.The artist has since had the joy of seeing eagerness, happiness and interest on the faces of some children, who were fortunate to see this piece on display at a Children’s Hospital Ward.
Rat-Trap – Is not the trap that kill the rat, is the little piece of cheese
35″ x 37″x 5″
Air-brushed plastic tubes
Rat Trap …
Is not the Trap that Kill the Rat, is the Little Piece of Cheese
A woman stands on her balcony awaiting and even summoning her man who is rowing upriver to her.
This piece speaks to the entire package of allure that the woman represents to man; her touch, her walk, the way she smells, looks at him, smiles; the sultry and the sensual.
It speaks of the charms of the woman against which man has such little resistance, which awakens his need to flex and swell his chest, his manly display, to compete ….. to soar, to conquer, to overcome all obstacles to win her, and yet to fall..
Self Preservation – Are we living longer now because we eat more preservatives?
45″ x 35″ x 4″
Are we living longer now because we eat more Preservatives?
What’s Going On?
These words of a popular Marvin Gaye song are meant to parody the practices of today, not to represent prudence.
In similar fashion, the Artist asks, “Are we living longer now because of preservatives?”
Could this be reminiscent of the pub’s favorite line promoting the preservative effects of liquor on the drinker’s unsuspecting liver?…… or steroid’s magnificent development of our bodies, while killing us softly?
He couldn’t have something against those wonderful genetically engineered tomatoes that we eat in an attempt to keep healthy.
Pasteurized, Homogenized, Sugar Free, Low fat, Low Calorie, Diet Rite, Dark Meat, White Meat, No Meat, Vegetarian, Pesco-Vegetarian, …
Grace, Glamour, Gorgeousness
20″ x 40″ x 6″
Grace, Glamour, Gorgeous
Grace, Glamorous, and Gorgeous ness – these are among different genres of “gyrations” portrayed by these lovely ladies, the embodiment of festive ecstasy. Together, they portray a tapestry of total unity, total joy, mutual abandonment of care and concern for other facets of life. Look closer ……… each remains encased in her own bejewelled box, her own ivory tower, although they are in the selfsame band, under the same sun and gyrating to the selfsame music. Each is in her own cluster.
Although all move in time to the music, some hear different beats. Moreover, the levels and styles also differ dependent on the cluster with which each lady aligns herself.
There are even gyrating cliques; cliques of friends, cliques of geography, cliques of ethnicity, cliques of class. . .
There is so much beauty to be beheld! There’s daring and dazzle in the dance, grace, giving, glamour, gorgeousness and yes …………… the optimum optical feast of gyration!
The Artist is reflecting on the festive celebrations of the annual exotic masquerade street-parade which Trinidad & Tobago proudly label’s “Carnival, The Greatest Show On Earth’. This is where the world’s 100-plus Caribbean-styled carnivals got their embryo
In the midst of it all though, the Artist is also lamenting the disappearance of creativity in the costumed portrayals of bands during the Carnival. Is it merely a panorama of bare and lovely legs and gyrations, garnished with differing levels of daring?
Move Your Shadow
24″ x 32″ x 9″
Painted plastic tubes
Move Your Shadow
The description of this work emphasizes how delightful it really is. ‘Move Your Shadow’ can suggest not only a bundle of bony knees and elbows intermingling at any dance, but much more ……………………
It is clearly significant that these spindly legs do not touch each other as they turn and dance. It is equally significant that they must give way to each other. If the one does not move, the other cannot pass ………. “Live and let Live” – The golden rule of peaceful co-existence.
On another level, the Artist is also issuing a wake-up call to youth, who seem not to know that in order for the shadow to move, the body first must. ‘Move Your Shadow’ is saying, to achieve your desire, get up and work for it!”
Feel The Vibes
11″ x 12″ x 6″
Figurines, photographs, reflective discs
Feel the Vibes:
Can you feel the love vibes? Can you see her smile so coyly? Can you see her blush? Can you see him swell his chest? Can you see his mating dance? Can you feel the vibes?
But can you also see the change? There was a time, when the mating dance was so different. There was a period of courtship. Check out the background images in this work! There was respect for the genders, not the haphazard, gruff approach of today that they call “direct”.
Can you feel their interplay? Can you see their exchange? There is a certain something in the air; electricity ……….. that cannot be touched, but surely can be felt.”Feel the vibes!”
They Piss On My Head And Tell Me It’s Rain
29″ x 12″ x 4″
Acrylic, chromed iron
They Piss on my Head and Tell me it’s Rain
“She’s such a lovely girl” … until you get to know her.
“He’s a real gentleman, but did he ever return that money?”
Get the picture? Pure, Cascading Water! There are few things to rival this for freshness, crisp cleanness, for rightness. There aren’t words to fully describe the pain of treachery.
This work gives the appearance of lovely, clear water as it plummets.
One is tempted to taste; to drink deeply.
But don’t drink. It’s piss.
Once A Man
20″ x 46″ x 28″
Once a Man
This is one of the artist’s most complex pieces to date, requiring some eight motors to move the component parts, and consisting of everything from champagne glasses to a hair dryer.
Each component has its peculiar significance and makes a distinct social and philosophical statement.
A Styrofoam ball is blown about by the wind, indicating the whimsical stage of life, when we are fodder for fashion and fickle to the influence of friends, fads and fortune.
Two balls move along parallel tracks, to signify the journey of man and woman through life. At the end of each track, each life, there are symbols of death and judgement; the ringing bell, a skeleton unearthed and the fire; then the cycle begins again, representative of reincarnation.
The central figure is a little man, unceasingly turning a chequered disc. Like the chequered flag at the start and finish of a car race, so does his disc start the rat race; the human rat race.
He represents the blue-collar worker grinding through the daily nine-to-five. Behind him are the symbols of his reward; the toasting champagne glasses, the festive, the party …. to ease his ceaseless grind.
This piece was done concurrently with “Twice a Child” and together they took one and a half years to complete
I Believe I Can Fly
18″ x 24″ x 28″
Aluminum, Barbie doll, decorative tape
I Believe I Can Fly
This is purely an aesthetic mix of cultures.
A Carnival costume – an extract from the multi-faceted cultural arts of Trinidad & Tobago…
The effect of the colorful moving wings symbolizes the cosmopolitan “rainbow” makeup and popular description of Trinidad & Tobago’s population.
The physical manifestation of the popular song
“I Believe I Can Fly” from Black America’s R. Kelly gives this piece its name and adds yet another dimension.
Different cultures, yet together they testify to the power and unity of the African Diaspora
Then there is the flip side! Is it the white or the black?
There is that element of trust, even in that which we instinctively cannot trust;
and then there is the reciprocation of that trust, however reluctant.
This is the higher order, which, even in these times, even in today’s world ….
so often comes through.
84″ x 48″ x 48″
Plastic, steeldrums, steelband music audio
This work depicts the golden age of the steeldrum movement (also referred to as “pan”, “steelband” and “steelpan”) in Trinidad and Tobago, where the exotic range of instruments was invented in the 20th century. .
‘Pan Rising’ stands seven feet at its highest point, and is mounted on a base three feet in diameter.
The tottering motion of the piece symbolizes the uncertainty experienced by the pioneers of the steelband movement. Among the challenges its pioneers encountered were social scorn and rejection, and little or no recognition for the innovation of such an international musical phenomenon.
In viewing ‘Pan Rising’, the change in colour from deep red to golden yellow reflects the wide acclaim the steel pan now receives globally.
Affirming the birthplace of the steelpan, the Trinidad and Tobago flag is integrated to support the instrument which pivots around it. This suggests the synergistic relationship between the nation and the steelband movement..
The flames at the base signify both the struggle of the “panmen” (the instrumentalists) and the process of pan-tuning.
The sound of the steelpan music emanates from the base of this work.
I Am Having Second Thoughts About You For The Last Time.
28″ x 14″ x 6″
Masks, plastic Gears, string
I Am Having Second Thoughts About You For The Last Time.
The young faces kiss, evoking a childish giggle at the innocence of the first kiss. Yet the girl looks around shyly, slyly as if to see who saw, emphasizing the imagery of the apple “on a string” at the side. The Second thought!
One is left to wonder at original sin, in this simple but charged work, and here one might ponder on the fall of man.
But then, they kiss again, and again, as the second thought recedes – for the last time.
Is man really “on a string?” In his confidence, so clearly shown on his face, has he fallen? Any further than to enjoy the invitation and the moment?
The naturalness of the kiss wins out.
It Is What It Is!
No Matter How Hard You Try, You Can’t Shine Sh_t
59″ x 18″ x 5″
Plastic, PVC tubing, string,
It Is What It Is!
No Matter How Hard You Try, You Can’t Shine Sh_t!
Make sure you put away your stash!
Oh yes we do. In the left corner, the daily tabbing of the tabs, prescribed or otherwise, is neatly stored. These pill boxes are probably the gift of a dutiful and doting daughter with the best of intentions, while her son similarly puts away his “stash”, her husband his “tonic”, and just as carefully. But theirs are not prescribed.
And then the thoughts – from pole to pole, between should I or should I not? Or rather, I shouldn’t, but cannot stop. The pill makes everything right. I need you! I need you not!
The ups and downs, and ups and downs, and ups and downs, can be fun for a while, but then ……….
The praying hands and the angel tell a story; the story of the cry for help, far above and beyond the medication or abuse. It is a story of ageing, of maturing, as we learn true/through reason, and learn to turn to a Higher Power that we might abide the daily dose, or turn away from obsession.
This work is a story of dependency, and the journey of overcoming, even as our dependency increases
This picture paints a sign of the times. Our friendly face is shaking, trembling even, with shades of Parkinson’s, shaking with memories of some tragic, or rather so many tragic experiences – especially so for some of us, the less fortunate, and ironically those who are seen as to blame for it all. Yes, this African face speaks of nerves that are shot, nerve endings that are frayed. Yet the face does not seem afraid, perhaps because his eyes are closed, closed against the weariness of it all, closed against seeing more of the same, closed in refreshing and faithful introspection. The African poise of acceptance is clear.
The artist uses elements that emphasize the tension, the electricity of the situation. With electric cords that are sometimes insulated in bright “plastic”, as if everything were everything, while we are also presented with the wire laid bare and twisted, kinked, bent out of smooth shape. Almost AC/DC!
The artist has also tended in his recent works to use his frames as integral to the presentation, and here we are presented with two levels of white frames…and these too have meanings. They remind our face of being circumscribed by a pristine white society that lies outside his tension, except during the more than occasional discussion at tea party or function. That is a society that remains insulated, ensuring for itself a greater degree of security, a minimum of being touched or personally affected. At the deeper level however, the other white frame represents the silver lining to the dark cloud that surrounds our face. It represents the hope, that beyond it all is the peace, which passes all understanding.
The Second Mouse Gets The Cheese – Timing is everything!
The song said, “Listen to the Clock on the Wall!” Does it chime the time, or just tick-tock? But this clock is “Off the Wall!”The pendulum swings, yet this clock is digital, telling of time falling into place, by the minute, and the hour, silently telling of the march of time.
And this work speaks…about the march of time, about our modern, digitized world. Framed in a computer case – yet unfinished – it is telling of our fast-paced world and of developments undoubtedly yet to come.
But there’s more, the deeper message of timing, about opportunity grasped, or foregone. Hence the name given by the artist to this work, which tells that first is not always best; as the victor to get the spoils this time is the second mouse. Here the silver medal is gold and to the winner, the altar of sacrifice.
Deep As A Puddle (light-boxes 1- 3)
What You Will Be, You Are Now Becoming
13″ x 17″ x 4″
Deep As A Puddle. (Light-boxes 1- 3)
What You Will Be, You Are Now Becoming
Dive into infinity! And you will experience the divine.
View this piece from the right angle and it allows you to experience, the infinity of the lights, channeling, stretching into the distance. How amazing that infinite depth could be contained in three inches watched from above.
Watch it eye to eye!
For, if you approach this work from the side, from anything other than dead on, other than straight ahead, you will certainly miss the mark.
However, if you align with the harmony, with the honesty, with the order, with the grand design, you will glimpse the eternity of the light. Align with the divine!
This work is completed in three distinct stages, each varying the expression of this eternal theme, that when the alignment is true, the miracle occurs.
Hmmm …… Is Less Really More?
26″ x 7″ x 3″
What Goes Around!
19″ x 38″ x 8″
Plastic balls, PVC tubing
Time Goes? No! Time Stays, We Go.
40″ X 28″ X 4″
The “Eye” In Me
30″ x 22″ x 3″
Styrofoam balls, magnets, needles, string
T’ai-Chi Tu – My Chinese Connection
23″ x 16″ x 6″
Ribbon, magnets, string