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I have wanted to write about the William Collieson Retrospective which was held at the Bermuda National Gallery from January to August of last year for several months.  Actually, when I look at the date, the draft post has been sitting around since March 2011!  The problem with writing this piece is that I wanted the review to do the show justice, but found it difficult to evoke the feeling of the pieces using two dimensional images. This was also compounded by the fact that, unlike the Masterworks Gallery which allowed me free reign take photos of the Charman entries, the Bermuda National Gallery prohibits photography so I wasn't able to take any pictures of the pieces and instead was told to rely on the images set out in the catalogue, which in the end I declined to do.  In any event I hope that my words will be able to convey the excitement and impact I felt on seeing the show.

This is another case of not immediately realising who a person is.  Although I'd seen William Collieson before, I primarily knew him as the window dresser for one of the department stores in town, and while I'd seen pieces exhibited by William Collieson in various shows over the years, I never put the two  persons together.  William Collieson's work is instantly recognisable as he uses a lot of found pieces which are assembled in a form of three-dimensional collage.  Many of his subjects deal with his childhood growing  up as a newly arrived immigrant in Bermuda and it was obvious that the wars in Europe had a very profound impact on his life.  My favourite works included a Jasper Johns-esque American flag series on wood which were graphic and effective in their simplicity.

I had never really recognised the depth of William Collieson's talent until I viewed the show which is why the retrospective was so meaningful.  Seeing a large body of his work together in one place really brought home the creativity of the man and the importance of his art as it reflects on Bermuda society.

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