Paul Gardère: Goudou Goudou
529 West 20th St, #5W
New York, NY 10011
on view December 7, 2017 – January 20th, 2018
Skoto Gallery is pleased to present Goudou Goudou, an exhibition of mixed media work by Paul Gardère. This will be the second solo show of his work at the gallery. The reception is on Thursday, December 7, 6-8pm.
Paul Gardère (1944-2011), a Haitian-American artist of mixed racial heritage was a versatile and complex artist whose work spoke a multilayered language that is at once personal and full of thoughtful inclusion. An astute observer of the world around him, his rich and varied cultural experience was integrated into a critical framework that engaged with issues of history, identity and authenticity. However, he remained philosophically and stylistically an internationalist whose work reflected his integrative approach to life and art. The visual resonance in his work is undeniable, attesting to his ability to seamlessly fuse ancient and modern concepts and aesthetics with nimble intelligence and zestful audacity that confronts tradition while encouraging us to embrace a more expansive definition of modernism.
Goudou Goudou is a selection of Gardère’s final series before his death, produced in the aftermath of the earthquake on January 12, 2010 in Haiti. These mixed media works offer a visceral peek into the artist’s personal response to the disaster. Mud relief and carved wood come together with haunted figures and Kreyol text to emphasize the nature, experience and survival of “goudou goudou” – the Kreyol term for the earthquake, the syllables of which evoke the sound of the shaking earth. This body of work is strong, deeply meditative and dense with nuances that expertly exploit the ambiguities arising between darkness and radiance; abstraction and figuration as well as the intriguing play between formal intention and narrative potential. His use of a wide range of materials, styles, and techniques evince a longstanding commitment to cross-cultural hybridization as well as extracting textured patterns, images and symbols from his immediate environment. There is no hierarchy of images – the path of visual exploration for each composition is of our own choosing, and the viewer interprets the progression of images as though reading a language system. For the artist, the body remains a potent vehicle for the exploration of the human condition in a period of great turmoil, bearing witness to trauma through a visual narration that pays tribute to the strength of a people struggling to survive and move forward.
Paul Gardère was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where he was raised and educated in a privileged environment before coming to New York at the age of fourteen. He sought art education as a teenager at the Art Students League, later obtaining a B.A at Cooper Union and an MFA at Hunter College, New York. He has exhibited extensively both in the U.S and in his homeland. His work is included in numerous private and public collections including the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York; Jersey City Museum, NJ; Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa; Le Centre d’Art, Port-au-Prince, Haiti; New Orleans Museum of Art as well as in the Libraries of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum, Beinecke Library at Yale University, New Haven, CT and the Herbert Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.