Vickie Pierre: “Be My Herald of What’s to Come”
June 23, 2021
Like the town crier in a fractured fairy tale, “Be My Herald of What’s to Come” rings in Vickie Pierre’s premiere solo museum show at the Boca Raton Museum of Art (Florida, US). Grounded in the Arts and Crafts movement, her installations have a storybook feel. A fractured fairy tale is, after all, a new twist on an old story, reimagined and restructured for a contemporary sensibility. Just as fractured fairytales can be more subversive than the traditional fables, the playfulness and whimsical flourishes of Pierre’s assemblages are underscored by her pull towards the beautifully grotesque.
In this new exhibition, her works cast a feminine deity spell within the Museum gallery. In the installation she created in 2020, titled Black Flowers Blossom (Hanging Tree), the artist honors the souls of people lost to racial injustice, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the many others. The exhibition was curated by Kelli Bodle, the Assistant Curator of the Museum, and is on view until September 5.
“These works proclaim that while we can acknowledge the dark, painful parts of our past, at the same time we can also express hope and light for the future,” says the Miami-based artist Vickie Pierre. Her artworks cling to the romanticized, ornate European-based home décor of her childhood home in Brooklyn. The interior design hearkened back to France as the mother country of Haiti, but one that never really was maternal. “It’s not my history, and isn’t even really my parents’ history. All of those decorative elements I remember growing up with, the European flourishes, rococo, and Victorian, were not even part of their lives when they were in Haiti. That’s the push and pull of it. It’s a fantasy, but it’s a beautiful lie,” says Pierre. “Visually, it’s the best eye candy ever.”
Pierre uses vintage Avon perfume bottles shaped like idealized women in period skirts (but removes the tops of the bottles that are shaped like women’s heads and torsos); flaxen hair from dolls; galleon ships to represent the slave trade; bracelets, cuffs and jewelry–all interconnected by long strands of glittering Goddess beads. The color backdrops are reminiscent of French toile fabrics. Batons appear, as sails that have lost their wind. “It feels like when you are watching something decay, but know that something better will take its place,” says Pierre. “I’ve been collecting these Avon perfume bottles for some time, using them as my muses. They’ve been deconstructed because I take their heads and torsos off. It’s a play on the idea of the Princess ― who gets to be the Princess?”
Vickie Pierre’s creative process is informed and inspired by memory, fantasy, surrealism, popular culture and the decorative and ornamental arts. She is best known for her wall installations that blend elements of her Caribbean heritage with contemporary culture. “There is always a sense of melancholy and longing in my work, it comes from the otherworldly state I put myself in when I am creating,” adds Pierre.
The inspiration for Pierre’s work has manifested itself in years of collecting diverse materials that often serve as muses in her daily practice and as actual, physical elements within her assemblages and installations. Her continued focus is on the universal themes of identity with references to design and nature, alongside the interconnectivity between her Haitian heritage (including the larger Caribbean community) and global cultural mythologies, while considering feminine and historic tropes that are relative to contemporary cultural politics.
- On display through September 5, 2021
- Find out more at bocamuseum.org