Synopsis of Haitian Art

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Carl Craig, Looking Backward to go Forward. Oil on canvas, 30” x 60” Carl Craig, Looking Backward to go Forward. Oil on canvas, 30” x 60”

Synopsis of Art by Artists of Haitian Descent in the Diaspora - Part IV

Hyperrealism is characterized by high-resolution-photo-like renditions of nature. When looking at these paintings, one may have difficulty ascertaining whether they are photographs or paintings. The artists painstakingly strive to maintain photographic illusion through meticulous depiction of the subject at hand. Three artists whose paintings stand out for their extreme realism or their trompe- l ’oeil qualities are Sophia Lacroix, Louis Louissaint, and Carl Craig.

Carl Craig is a photographer and painter whose paintings reflect his dedication to capturing transfixed moments, and aspects of nature as faithfully as possible. Like Louis Louissaint and Sophia Lacroix, Craig’s paintings are characterized by their photo- graphic appearance.

Craig strives to reproduce satisfactorily every minute detail in regards to shape, proportion and color. The aim is to succeed in creating a perfect trompe-l’oeil. Begging the question: Is it a picture or a painting? If the motif behind the painting is only a highly deceptive photo-realism the work is humanely meaningless and futile.

To avoid that pitfall, Craig incorporates emotions and feelings into his works by depicting salient characteristics, psychological traits or precarious situations, in which the subjects find themselves struggling with existential despair, estrangement, misery, bereavement, or something of that ilk.

His use of photographs, whether staged or not, is understandably a departure point allowing him to effectively use his vivid imagination and exceptional sense of com- position. His Negre Marron, for instance, perfectly illustrates his refusal to copy slavishly Albert Mongones’ design. In order to infuse the painting with life, he emphasizes the energy and determination of the enchained slave to fight for his freedom, along with others sharing a similar fate.

Craig’s methodic mind is set into motion in each of his paintings. It is about the choices he makes with every brush stroke to include elements that convey the best of his ideas and emotions, while creating something meaningful and aesthetically sound.

To Craig, form and content always walk hand in hand, with the understanding that the former complements the latter by mak- ing it more appealing and accessible to the viewer, who enjoys looking at recognizable objects to which they can relate, as opposed to abstract or unclear pictorial statements. tj

The complete article can be found in Issue #276 of the Tokyo Journal. Click here to order from Amazon.

 

Written By:

Marcel Duret

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