My experience as a member of the Haitian diaspora and a long time observer of American life is woven into my paintings. Since language often fails me I refer to painting to give voice to elements about the world I find intriguing, wondrous, and, troubling.
As an outsider, I employ organic shapes to interpret the world; mark making is used not only as a structural and compositional device, but also as memory lines to connect and account for matters at hand. Color is an important aspect of Haitian culture–yellow features prominently in my work because each January as a child my two sisters and I were taken to a photographer for an annual portrait; I always wore a yellow dress. My color sense sometimes corresponds to memories of things past and when those are fragmented, that adds a curious and mysterious element to the work. These three components inform my visual vocabulary.
Using collage and other found objects to build foundation, I infuse my paintings with texture and meaning. I challenge myself by choosing conventionally incompatible colors, experimenting with mark making and text, while working to establish a cohesive statement. Part of my finishing process involves using paint directly from the tube to write text. It feels more intimate as if the words are pouring out of me. I use paint markers, pastels, paint sticks, crayons and graphite pencils to make additional marks. Much of the text is worked over and ultimately disintegrated into the painting. The text is camouflaged, and ultimately unrevealed because I’ve heeded my grandmother’s words: “Toutes les vérités ne sont pas bonnes à dire” (Not all truths should be told). My words are sometimes scratched, patched, erased and muted. Words matter; words hurt, they heal and when they are unspoken, they can become more powerful in their forced silence. Words bind the work to itself.