Art in Lockdown: Manuel Mathieu

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    From the interview:

    "Depending where you stand, this pandemic hits you differently. Think about it from a global perspective, not just the personal perspective. We have to see how we exist in connection with each other. This is something I’ve been interested in as I’ve been moving around, meeting different people, being confronted by my privilege, and understanding that depending where you are your privilege has a certain weight or not."

     


    • Manuel Mathieu Will, 2018 Mixed media on canvas (Acrylic, oil stick, chalk, charcoal, spray paint, and tape) 68 x 72 in 172.7 x 182.9 cm
      Manuel Mathieu
      Will, 2018
      Mixed media on canvas (Acrylic, oil stick, chalk, charcoal, spray paint, and tape)
      68 x 72 in
      172.7 x 182.9 cm
  • Mathieu's studio in Montreal, Canada, 2020.

     


     

    "We can create ways to see each other and ways to feel each other. Without that, we cannot build a strong sense of empathy. I think these things become very important. These are important things to take into consideration when we’re trying to connect with each other. Art is a beautiful space where we can sit down and try to connect with the complexities inside us. It’s a space for us to reflect, a space to fully be, and to start conversations that are necessary for our own survival."

     


     

    • Manuel Mathieu Surfacing, 2018 Mixed media on canvas (Acrylic, oil stick, chalk, charcoal, spray paint, and tape) 24 x 24 in 61 x 61 cm
      Manuel Mathieu
      Surfacing, 2018
      Mixed media on canvas (Acrylic, oil stick, chalk, charcoal, spray paint, and tape)
      24 x 24 in
      61 x 61 cm
    • Manuel Mathieu The Discovery, 2018 Mixed media on canvas (Acrylic, oil stick, chalk, charcoal, spray paint, and tape) 30 x 24 in 76.2 x 61 cm
      Manuel Mathieu
      The Discovery, 2018
      Mixed media on canvas (Acrylic, oil stick, chalk, charcoal, spray paint, and tape)
      30 x 24 in
      76.2 x 61 cm

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     "The pandemic is a situation, but climate change is another situation. If we don’t have a global perspective we will not overcome these situations. When it comes to the free market, we had that perspective. But now it’s about our survival, and living well. Creating a healthy world is for the present and the future."

     

    A view of Mathieu's side table in his studio in Montreal, Canada, 2020.

     


     

     

     

     

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    A calligraphic drawing sits beside a flowering plant in the window sill of Mathieu's studio in Montreal, Canada.

     

    "We can create ways to see each other and ways to feel each other. Without that, we cannot build a strong sense of empathy. I think these things become very important. These are important things to take into consideration when we’re trying to connect with each other. Art is a beautiful space where we can sit down and try to connect with the complexities inside us. It’s a space for us to reflect, a space to fully be, and to start conversations that are necessary for our own survival."

     

     


     

     

     

    • Manuel Mathieu A Vague Precipitation, 2015 Mixed media on wood 8 x 11 in 20.3 x 27.9 cm
      Manuel Mathieu
      A Vague Precipitation, 2015
      Mixed media on wood
      8 x 11 in
      20.3 x 27.9 cm
    • Manuel Mathieu Untitled, 2018 Mixed media on paper 13 x 11 x 2 in 33 x 27.9 x 5.1 cm
      Manuel Mathieu
      Untitled, 2018
      Mixed media on paper
      13 x 11 x 2 in
      33 x 27.9 x 5.1 cm
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    "I believe abstraction is about talking at different frequencies. Sometimes the work is not about people. It’s about spirits, it’s about energies. I’ve spent a lot of time dealing with the fact that I don’t always understand what I’m doing. That’s a space where I can fully be, because there’s a part of our existence that’s not there for us to comprehend. If we’re not tapping into that in one way or another, we’re not actually being present in the world. So abstraction is a word, a way of categorizing different things. But what I’m trying to talk about is bigger than that word."

     


     

  • ABOUT THE ARTIST

    While Manuel Mathieu (b. 1986, Haiti) has developed an aesthetic trajectory that may be easily traced to his Haitian upbringing, his work articulates his positional 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 unrepresentative 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 understanding of the work.

     

    Manuel Mathieu, Nobody is Watching, 2018, Kavi Gupta | Washington Blvd

     

    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, as well as Haitian visual cultures of physicality, nature, and religious symbolism. He takes us along a journey that brings 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.

     

    Manuel Mathieu, Nobody is Watching, 2018, Kavi Gupta | Washington Blvd

     

     


     

     

     


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    Manuel Mathieu: Recueil Volume #1

    Ayizan Studio

    Published by Ayizan Studio, 2018, clothbound hardcover, 112 pages, 9.75 x 7.75 inches

    Manuel Mathieu

    Published by Kavi Gupta, 2018, paperback, 104 pages, 7 x 5 inches.