"No Color Lines", University Art Gallery, The University of the South, Sewanee, TN
In No Color Lines, multimedia artist Marielle Plaisir invites viewers into a lush and beautiful dream, into an imagined world “without prejudice, discrimination, or acts of domination." Plaisir works to critique and recast the violence and pain of the legacies of colonialism and enslavement. Appealing to the imagination of the viewer, she creates a poetic and egalitarian utopia.
Feathers, crystals, textiles, and light all appeal unapologetically to the senses. Reimagining history, the artist plays with categories of class and race. Leather gloves for hard labor are celebrated and rendered in porcelain. Chains are cast off, made delicate, and treated as jewelry or a toy, confining no one. Vibrant backlit collages present tropical paradises where no conquest or colonization - or Fall - has taken place. Portraits are appropriated and made strange, the particular and individual made symbolic, in some cases detached from history, in some cases made emblematic of resistance, and in all cases made dreamlike. Stuffed fabric frames are more bodily than the faces they contain, and textiles and clothing that would have once signaled rank and class are equalized.
A French Caribbean artist raised in LeHavre, France and Guadeloupe, Plaisir is now based in Miami. She was awarded the Southern Prize and State Fellowship Florida in 2021.