Sunday, June 23, 2024

Myrlande Fixed at Fowler Museum at UCLA

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Myrlande Fixed’s sumptuously detailed textile works elaborate mystical realms the place mermaids, serpentine beings, angels with axolotl-like heads, and tentacled half-human deities work together with one another and, often, mortals. Evoking tapestries and mosaics, the artist’s compositions scintillate with hundreds of punctiliously stitched glass beads and sequins that change colour and replicate mild when considered from completely different angles. However these tableaux usually are not supposed to merely titillate: the Haitian artist is a manbo makout, a priestess by blood; her objects take the type of drapo, ritual flags involving spirits, or lwa, from the Vodou pantheon.

Fixed started making artwork within the Nineteen Nineties when, annoyed with low pay and poor remedy, she stop her manufacturing facility job as a wedding-dress seamstress to begin, in her phrases, “portray with beads.” She revolutionized the male-dominated craft of drapo by introducing the tambour embroidery sew, a way that permits for the creation of larger depth and tactility. Fixed’s wide-ranging influences past Haiti are evident in one of many earliest works on view, Nonetheless life, ca.1995, whose beautiful floral motifs recall these of Matisse.

Her later works dig additional into Haitian historical past and Vodou. A collection of small-scale drapo largely depict figures individually, in pairs, or in trios, together with Èzili Balian, ca. 2005, which portrays a powerful Black maternal lwa primarily based loosely on the Catholic Madonna. Her largest items, nevertheless, illustrate spiritual lore and tales about her dwelling nation. Rendering the aftermath of a devastating earthquake, the sprawling format of Haiti madi 12 janvye 2010 (Haiti, Tuesday, January 12, 2010), 2012, brings to thoughts Renaissance altarpieces, akin to Bosch’s Backyard of Earthly Delights, 1490–1500.

A quick documentary, Staging the Invisible, 2023, that includes interview footage of Fixed in her atelier within the hills above Port-au-Prince, intimates the sophisticated actuality she faces in her twin function as priestess and dealing artist reaching recognition exterior of Haiti. Fixed faces criticism from individuals who accuse her of “promoting the picture of the lwa,” she says within the video. However this, she goes on to elucidate, is a nonissue, as “the spirits are at all times with us . . . throughout us, all around the world.”

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