Manuel Mathieu Haiti, b. 1986

Overview

While Manuel Mathieu has developed an aesthetic trajectory that may be easily traced to his Haitian upbringing, his work articulates his positionality from a multitude of realities and perspectives.


Reposing on his own multiplicity, the abstractness of his work conveys the abundance in existing at the intersection of racial, geographical, and cultural identities.


Mathieu’s abstract imagery taps into the unrepresentable and elusive—he offers emotional and spiritual nuances that post-structuralist critiques neglect. He presents historical paintings that rely on emotive and speculative thinking as a form of knowledge production. He abandons figurative or didactic western traditions for a more interactive mode of interpretation where the viewers are actively participating in formulating their under-standing of the work.

 

Mathieu’s practice brings much needed vitality to the otherwise definitive character of painting by allowing the meaning of his work to be context-dependent. He expands his artistic repertoire to delve into subjects that investigate themes of historical violence, erasure, and Haitian visual cultures of physicality, nature, and religious symbolism. He takes us along a journey that discovers pleasure and purpose in being vulnerable and ever-changing.

 

Marrying abstract and figurative techniques, Mathieu’s compositions carve out space for us to reflect on Haiti’s transformative heritage while inviting us to consider the different futures the act of remembering creates. After all, this is what Mathieu’s evocative paintings incite in us: a sense of polyphonic reality that forgoes absolute truth and draws from our collective imaginary.

 

Major exhibitions of Mathieu’s work include Manuel Mathieu: World Discovered Under Other Skies, The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada; Manuel Mathieu: Survivance, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montréal, Canada; The Other Side of Now: Foresight in Contemporary Caribbean Art, Pérez Art Museum Miami, FL, USA; Over My Black Body, curated by Eunice Bélidor and Anaïs Castro, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada; Manuel Mathieu: Nobody Is Watching, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, IL, USA; and Manuel Mathieu: Wu Ji, HdM Gallery, Beijing, China. Mathieu has been invited to the artist residency at the Art House in Sonoma, CA, in 2021.

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