Morel Doucet’s Portraits Center Power by Calling in the Natural World
Morel Doucet’s 20x200 debut is twice as nice. We’re thrilled to welcome the Miami-based multidisciplinary artist to our roster with two arresting portrait editions: Ode to the Durag (Black is thicker than hair butter) and I found you kissing the sun. Each piece has its own regal presence, but avid collectors will find they also make an excellent pair, a harmony of lush layers, textures, and vibrant tropical hues. The silhouetted profiles pulse against contrasting botanical backgrounds—stand-out images in any space.
To introduce this extra special double edition release, we reached out to curator, art advisor, and mobile gallery owner, Kiara Ventura. Ventura specializes in highlighting and documenting the works of young artists of color like Doucet, and she’s been closely following him. It’s no surprise the confluence of these two creatives makes for a fascinating read, excerpted below. Get the full essay on the blog, and collect Doucet’s dazzling new limited-editions. (Which reminds us: these unique prints would be a perfect holiday present for the art lover on your list ...) -Team 20x200
Ode to the Durag (Black is thicker than hair butter) by Morel Doucet
10"x8" ($35) | 14"x11" ($75) | 20"x16" ($260) | 24"x20" ($750) | 40"x30" ($2500)
In a time defined by technological innovation, a pandemic, and therefore domestic life, Morel Doucet makes a direct connection between the human figure and nature. We see mythical life forms in his work. Porcelain ceramic coral reefs sitting atop faces, heads, and bodies. Caribbean hues spread across sculptures of sea life. Floral patterns covering the skin of life-size heads. His series Water Grieves in the Six Shades of Death features an array of portraits, including Ode to the Durag (Black is thicker than hair butter) and I found you kissing the sun, which center face silhouettes against mesmerizing floral and herbal backgrounds.
At first glance, one may perceive these works only highlight the beauty within their figures and the variety of tropical hues and patterns. Yet Doucet utilizes the ethereal to speak on issues of displacement and climate gentrification that affect communities of the Black diaspora. As a Haitian Miami-based artist, Doucet explored neighborhoods within the city, such as Little Haiti, Overtown, Allapattah, and Liberty City, and soon found that these areas were being aggressively gentrified for elevation and land value. As a response, he collected flora and fauna from these communities to create ecological drawings and abstract portraits of the locals. In doing so, he amplifies the presence of residents and reminds them of their importance amidst the circumstances that are held against them.
Using a holistic approach, Doucet creates a bridge between the glittering mundane and the vulnerable. The leaves and flowers he collects are sacred to those that grew up in these neighborhoods as they hold stories of nostalgia. In the same way this natural world is in desperate need of protection and preservation, Doucet highlights the imperative to protect and preserve the Miami communities at risk of being displaced. He does so with grace, the silhouetted figures standing head high with presence and pride. With tenderness. With power.
-Kiara Cristina Ventura
Kiara Cristina Ventura (born. 1996) is a Dominican-American Afro-Latina curator, writer, art advisor, and owner of ARTSYWINDOW. Bronx native, Ventura curates spaces highlighting and documenting the works of young artists of color. Ventura’s love for art history began when she interned at The Metropolitan Museum of Art during high school. She then double majored in Art History & Journalism at NYU and graduated in May 2018. Noticing the lack of representation of artists of color in her art history classes and within the larger art world, she responded via writing, curating, and teaching mobile art history classes. She initiated herself as a curator with the exhibition FOR US. Since early 2019, she has been working alongside curator Larry Ossei Mensah as a mentee, curatorial assistant, and co-curator.
With a love for contemporary art, art history, and spirituality, Ventura is continuing in breaking barriers by independently curating, writing, organizing public programs, and creating digital content. She has curated at The Museum of the African Diaspora San Francisco, The Bronx Art Space, Vis Arts Maryland, Penn State University, The Longwood Gallery at Hostos, The Andrew Freedman Home, and Reparations Club LA. Kiara serves on the advisory board for Bronx Art Space. From August 2019 to May 2020, she started and wrote for Teen Vogue’s first art column, Art School, highlighting the work of visual artists of color through intimate profiles about their experiences, career, and muses. Her writing has also appeared in Art Forum, Performa Mag, Cultured Mag, and more. Ventura’s work has been covered by Art Forum and Art Net.
ARTSYWINDOW (est. 2015) is Ventura’s mobile gallery and brainchild that physically and virtually curates exhibitions, programs, artworks for collectors, and digital content. AW holds mobile & digital art history classes about contemporary artists of color called AW CLASSROOM. Most recently in July 2020, AW launched a podcast version of the AW CLASSROOM series, where they release art history lessons and interviews artists and art world movers and shakers of color. AW has previously held programs at the Miranda Kuo Gallery, VICE headquarters, various artist & collectors’ living rooms, Ed.Varie, 8Ball Collective Headquarters, Ghetto Gastro, and the Gavin Brown Enterprise.
Catch up with Kiara Cristina Ventura and ARTSYWINDOW here: