Asher Mains (b. 1984 – )
With his recent appearance with Grenada’s first Official National Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale, Asher Mains is an emerging voice in the Southern Caribbean that is worth noting. Having shown work in his home country of Grenada over the past 20 years, Mains has also shown in New York, Berlin, Barbados, Bolivia, Basel, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro and Colombia.
Primarily a representational painter, Mains uses art objects to initiate dialogue and experiences. Mains has been working with material exploration for art making involving materials that can be sourced entirely within Grenada, reducing the dependence on the importing of cost-restrictive art media. Further, Mains asserts that our place, or landscape contributes to our identity and by using objects and materials within our locality we our referencing our identity. By recognizing materials that we have a relationship with the viewer can have an empathic relationship with a piece based on what an object or material can tell us about ourselves. “In this way, I am engaging in a process of materiality that is empathic and mnemonic.”
Brené Brown says that, “To become fully human means learning to turn my gratitude for being alive into some concrete common good.” This sentiment was at the heart of the Painted Portraits for Cocoa Farmers Project. Spending time on and giving painted portraits to the farmers was a way of connecting with them by giving them something in return for the work that they have already done in producing cocoa and chocolate. Subverting the traditional model of portraiture and patronage meant exploring generosity and exchange in art. It had also lead to exploring vulnerability, intimacy and human exchanges beyond market transactions.
Mains has a B.A. in Intercultural Studies from Calvin College and has an MFA in Creative Practice from Transart Institute, accredited by Plymouth University, UK.