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The Elusive Master: Emmanuel Merisier, from Haiti to Beyond

Artist Emmanuel Merisier_Title - In Memory of Wilfredo Lam - Credit Waterloo Center for the Arts

Little Haiti Cultural Complex and the Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance present the 10th annual Global Caribbean exhibition program: The Elusive Master: Emmanuel Merisier, from Haiti to beyond

This exhibition draws from the collection of the Waterloo Center for the Arts to focus on the work of an individual artist, positioning Haitian painting within a global modernist tradition and is presented as an exclusive program partner with ArtBasel Miami Beach.

Miami, FL – (November 26, 2018)The Elusive Master: Emmanuel Merisier, from Haiti to beyond will be on exhibition at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex located at 212-260 Northeast 59th Terrace Miami, FL 33137, from Friday, December 7, 2018 through January 12, 2019.   This exhibition focuses on the work of Haitian artist Emmanuel Merisier (1929-2014). Drawing influence from both Haitian art and popular culture and European modernism, Merisier presents a unique oeuvre that explores both the spiritual and the modern. This exhibition is the tenth iteration of the Global Caribbean exhibition series and the first to focus on the work of an individual artist. The exhibition will open to the public on the Friday December 7, 2018 10am – 1pm with a morning reception and talk with the curator Fredo Rivera. Admission is free and open to the public for the duration of the exhibition through January 12, 2019.

Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Merisier trained with artists at the Foyer des Arts Plastique and the Centre d’Art before immigrating to the United States in 1968. Settling in the New York City area, Merisier studied at the Art Students League and Visual Arts School. He developed a body of work heavily informed by his research of art history books and the contemporary art scene. Works such as In Memory of Wilfredo Lam (2009), Matisse and Hyppolite (1998) and In Memory of Picasso and Chagall (2000) exhibit visual and thematic influences from modernist painters. At the same time, other works portray explicitly Haitian themes, including a particular concern of the plight and traditions of the Haitian people. Featuring 28 paintings from the latter part of Merisier’s career, this exhibition aims to introduce this important painter to a broader audience.

This exhibition presents a collaboration across institutions in Iowa and Florida, including the Haitian Art Society, the Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance, Grinnell College, the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, and the Waterloo Center for the Arts, which houses the largest public collection of Haitian art in the United States. Art historian and curator Fredo Rivera, a specialist on Caribbean art and visual culture, encountered Merisier’s work during the 2017 Haitian Art Society Annual Conference.  With the support of Edouard Duval Carrie, Executive Director of the Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance and Marie Vickles, Curator at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, this exhibition will highlight the significance of Haitian painting within the context of Art Basel in Miami.

Steeped in references ranging from Vodou to the German expressionists, Merisier’s large and powerful canvases mitigate the cultural terrain of contemporary painting and its forbearers. These paintings pay homage to the masters of Caribbean and European art as they recall the gestural nature of modern painting and its implied symbolism.  Neither self-taught, intuitive or outsider art, Merisier’s work provides a new perspective within modern painting and his work stands elusively between Haiti and the global art world.

Schedule of Art Basel Events:

Wednesday, December 5 Press and VIP Preview Press Event / Haitian Art Society Conference Preview
Gallery | 6 – 8pm

Friday, December 7 Vernissage: opening reception and tour with the curator Fredo Rivera
Gallery | 10am-1pm

Friday, December 7 through Sunday, December 9 Exhibition open to the public
Gallery | 10am-6pm

  • December 7, 2018 - January 12, 2019
  • 10:00 - 18:00

Art Gallery

The Art Gallery serves as a space for local residents and artists abroad to display a vast collection of artwork. To expose the public to various visual arts, the Little Haiti Cultural Complex collaborates with various artists to collect, preserve and exhibit their work. It is also one of our premier locations for events, such as opening exhibitions, receptions, social mixers and private dinners. At 2,150 sq. ft., the gallery provides open space, climate control, museum quality lighting and ever-changing art exhibits.

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