Curated by Jovan C. Speller | Nov 2016
The Feminist highlights Charles Phillipe Jean Pierre’s interdisciplinary art practice, featuring a selection of acrylic and mixed media paintings, an installation, and a performance. The Feminist is a snapshot of Jean Pierre’s examination of contemporary literature, feminism, privilege, and power. As the artist navigates questions of race, gender and equality, he explores what it means be a feminist as a black man in American culture. Stylistically stepping aside from his known language of graffiti-like line-work, brush strokes, and bold color, Jean Pierre adopts a more subtle palette in abstract acrylic paintings and thick layers of high contrast mixed media works on canvas. Jean Pierre begins to make space for balance, feminine energy, nurturing and integrity. He uses integration and overlapping of color, texture, and imagery, further depicting his process, methodology and reconciliations. This body of work can also be viewed as a visual documentation of a shift or expansion of thought. With The Feminist Jean Pierre illustrates his process of internalizing a movement and activating his individual agency, connecting personal intention to mass activism.
Jean Pierre is a Haitian American artist originally from the South side of Chicago, IL. He currently lives and works in Washington DC, with a studio at the well known 52 O Street Studios.
Over the past five years I have watched Jean Pierre’s artistic evolution closely. His practice spans public art, sculpture, painting, installation, performance and more. He shifts, turns, expands, and transforms his practice in service of his message; and he is, therefore, a consistent and reflective contemporary voice.
In the words of Nina Simone, “An artist's duty, as far as I'm concerned, is to reflect the times.” This statement could not be more true today, and at this time in our country. The role of the artist and art in communities, schools, and across public and private spaces is necessary; having a distinct ability to ignite unique, and perhaps even radical discussion about difficult topics. Art has the ability to inform, unite, and heal-and artists who are brave enough to develop and wield these powers are incredibly important for progress in this country. Charles Philippe Jean Pierre is one such brave artist. His persistent pursuit for knowledge and refreshing curiosity has been an inspiration.
The Feminist consists a body of work that demonstrates Jean Pierre’s willingness to explore conceptual edges, and redefine what is culturally and socially possible. My enthusiasm for Jean Pierre surpasses my appreciation for him as a powerfully perceptive artist; he is a social and cultural humanitarian and dedicated community activist. His works not only speak for themselves, but they have served as displays for underserved populations and marginalized groups of people around the world. Through his art, Jean Pierre spotlights local issues, challenges inaction and highlights under-represented histories. His work masterfully builds bridges between joy, violence, heritage, hierarchy and history. For me, The Feminist marks the culmination of a year long collaboration with an artist who is willing to take risks and challenge everything, and for that I am incredibly grateful and forever changed. - Jovan C. Speller
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Disrobing Masculinity: A conversation moderated by Tricia Heuring, Director/Curator for Public Functionary, and featuring artist Charles Philippe Jean Pierre; Jovan C. Speller, curator for The Feminist; Nicole Nfonoyim-Hara, writer and anthropologist; and Malanda, poet and author of Because of a Woman.
Using Jean Pierre’s artwork as a backdrop, this conversation will focus on dismantling ideas of power within contemporary social and political patriarchy. We will discuss a history of continued objectification of women, with a focus on women of color, and contemporary feminist theory. Panelists will respond to questions about varying archetypes of masculinity; the importance of using artistic and aesthetic representations as a catalyst to shift a society into promoting gender equality; and the ways in which men can contribute to just and nurturing communities.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
THE CURATED DINNER
The Curated Dinner invited a dynamic group of women to discuss this exhibition, and more specifically, feminism, Womanism, men within the contemporary feminist movement and any other topic that came up. This video highlights only a few of the topics that emerged from this radical dialogue.
Nicole Nfonoyim Hara
Ngowo Nuemeh Nasah
Jovan C. Speller
Photo Credit: Joe and Jen Photography