Trinidadian born Gail Ward is no stranger to change and taking risks. She takes a “novel” approach to life and art. “My parents always said life should read like a novel…no one wants to read one chapter… make it interesting!” Interesting it has been indeed! From dancer, choreographer and actor to music executive performance artist and painter change and movement is something she not only welcomes but actively seeks out.
Gail is creative to her core and has used that creativity to the maximum from her beginning. She was born a dancer and fine-tuned that talent by studying dance performance and education at the famed Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York. Her passion for dance as a means of storytelling lead her to expand her talents to include choreography, acting & writing to create more three dimensional story-based multimedia performance pieces. Working with other like-minded artists, Gail has been able to create and showcase her own work at various multidiscipline venues such as the DIA Arts Center, PS122 and the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, to name a few. In creating her own work and performances, she was able to hone her organizational and production skills which proved more than helpful.
As a visual artist she incorporates all of the above and more to make work that rings of a particular kind of “naked truth” and storytelling. She started painting when a dream inspired her to really touch and see herself. “I kept trying to see my real self…mirrors lie, they lack particular dimension. I wanted to have a more accurate picture of what I look like physically so I started using paint to make prints of myself, but that didn’t seem correct either….the images continued to change. Much to my surprise it turned out to be more accurate in the ways that really mattered. I started to seeing colors patterns and symbols that were more truthful about the core of what was in me than any mirror or photo could possibly capture…I started seeing the colors, patterns and symbols of my spirit. It was very healing.”
What came out of the experiment was the beginning of a wonderful journey. She began making prints of other people and using words that she had written to express what the images were reflecting. Gail started including recycled materials (glass, wood, antique window frames amount other things. Nothing was out of bounds for use in the work. Inanimate objects that were once another’s trash became treasures. Converging textures, combining past and present, brings to her work some of the colorful flavors of her Caribbean heritage. As each piece takes shape to tell their individual unique story, she is often surprised at what presents itself upon completion. “I just stand down and don’t judge what they want to be, do or say. My job is simply to show up and let it flow.”
“It really has been freeing, I don’t label myself as a painter or anything else. I found that doing this sets limitations and expectations which stunt my ability to move forward and discover new and hidden things about myself and others. We are each our own uncharted territories. I am very humbled by the fact that my work can inspire people to engage, think, cry, laugh and feel. It excites me to enable others to see their own stories in color, patterns, symbols and textures!”
What’s next? Stay tuned… she’s still writing. “No limitations! I intend to continue to evolve, expand, educate and contribute the best I have to offer and when all is said and done hope my book of life makes for a really fantastic read!”
Contact: Little Red Hen Productions