Exhibition of Vickie Pierre's Lyrical Works Examines Themes of Race, Colonialism and Who Gets to be the Princess

  • July 15, 2021 13:32

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The artist Vickie Pierre with one of her artworks, at the opening reception of her new exhibition on view now through September 5 at the Boca Raton Museum of Art.
Detail, Vickie Pierre.
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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 (through Sept. 5, 2021) at the Boca Raton Museum of Art

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.

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

The exhibition was curated by Kelli Bodle, the Assistant Curator of the Museum, and is on view until September 5. Vickie Pierre has also been commissioned to create two murals for the Museum’s entrance courtyard, as part of the new Sculpture Garden. 

Vickie Pierre, I Can’t Say No To You (Good Enough), 2014. Resin wall plaques, plastic leaves, Avon glass perfume bottles, wooden shelf sconces and ship bookends, jewelry, and hand-strung beads, mounted on shaped MDF panel, latex paint, and vinyl lettering.
Artwork detail, Vickie Pierre.
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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 Haiti's the "mother country," 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.”

Vickie Pierre, And Though I May Have Lost My Way, All Paths Lead Straight to You, 2013. Plastic wall plaques, porcelain, resin, wooden shelf sconces, Avon glass perfume bottles, silk doll hair, band-strung beads on MDF, latex paint, and vinyl lettering.

She 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?

“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 Pierre.

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. 

Her exhibition includes, for the first time seen altogether, Pierre’s assemblages and freestanding sculpture that highlight her lyrical brilliance.

Vickie Pierre, Black Flowers Blossom (Hanging Tree), 2020. Created to honor George Floyd and the souls of victims of racial injustice. Hand-strung glass, plastic, and wood beads; fabric, plastic butterflies, flowers and foliage; glitter, vintage Avon perfume bottles, and wooden ship bookends. Photo by Zachary Balber.

“This exhibition of Vickie Pierre’s assemblages is both a memorial for what has passed and a desire for what is to come,” said Irvin Lippman, the Executive Director of the Museum

“Exploring how people can structure their identity, Pierre pays homage to the French and larger European architectural design that influenced Haitian culture while also subverting it. Her vignettes deal with current issues, revealing deeper truths and fractured identities, but are cloaked in charming tableaus.” 


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