Shulamit Nazarian is pleased to present For I Am With You Until the End of Time, an exhibition of works that range in scale from the intimate to the monumental by Brooklyn-based Naudline Pierre. This will be the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.
Naudline Pierre’s paintings and works on paper serve as portals into a mysterious world. Informed by her religious upbringing, Pierre’s works conflate the aesthetics of centuries-old traditions found in Western art history with the artist’s personal narrative.
Within these new works, Pierre employs a non-linear structure that allows her central subject––the artist’s alter ego––to assert her existence by appearing in multiple places at once. For I Am With You Until the End of Time finds this figure amid an apocalyptic age, experiencing the depth and complexities of affection as she cycles through moments of devotion, betrayal, rest, rebirth and redemption. Establishing her central figure as a complete being with powerful and empathetic agency, the artist allows the mythology of this character to reflect her own moments of personal growth, vulnerabilities, and strength.
Drawing inspiration from several periods of art history, Pierre reinterprets well-known biblical narratives––such as the Nativity or the Last Supper––with her unique palette of an ever-shifting spectrum of colors and dissolved androgynous forms. El Greco can be seen in Pierre’s use of dynamic expressiveness and fantasy, while William Blake’s Romantic interpretation of the dramatic and symbolic can be seen in her formal configurations. Profound moments in familiar Renaissance imagery are reimagined through hinged altarpieces; Pierre’s subject becomes the protagonist in a sacred and familiar, yet tender new narrative. While drawing from these specific periods, the artist has stated that she is “acknowledging the incredible history contained within my body and transferring it to a visual language co-opted from the dominant Western art historical canon.”
In the painting Lest You Fall, 2019 Pierre’s alter ego is found in mid-descent, with her body upended. The figure is supported by the outstretched wing of an angelic form, further followed by three other bodies in motion. A white dove graces the fallen figure, wings extended, offering empowerment through the touch of her hand. As the body is elongated across the canvas, a gradient of colors shift from green to yellow and orange to red as flames extend upward. The dry brush application of oil paint provides thin layers that create a luminous quality, allowing her figures to gently emerge from the background of the painting.
Carefully positioned between the beautiful and haunting, Pierre’s new works reflect sensual scenes in which characters find themselves in moments of embrace, gaining protection and power through touch as they explore the entanglements of their existence. The artist’s central character draws vitality from those around her, and in turn, shares that strength through expressions of romantic, platonic, and familial affection. Seen together, For I Am With You Until the End of Time presents a story, a promise of an undying love.
Naudline Pierre (b. 1989, Leomister, MA), currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her MFA from the New York Academy of Art and BFA from Andrews University. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The Armory Show, New York; Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles; Perrotin, Seoul; Stephen Friedman Gallery, London and Nicodim Gallery, Bucharest among others. Her works are in the permanent collection of the Pérez Art Museum Miami and the CC Foundation in Shanghai, and have been the subject of review in the New York Times, New York Magazine, and Vice. Pierre will be an artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem from October 1, 2019 – September 1, 2020. The work produced during the residency will be presented at MoMA PS1 in the summer of 2020.