My Story and Where I Am
By Olivier Dubois-Cherrier
I started to get seriously involved with art making in 2006, I was then 43, living in Barcelona, Spain.
I drew a lot when I was a kid, probably influenced by my French paternal grandfather who was a painter and on the other side by my Caribbean maternal grandmother who was sculptor. But, when I became a young adult I abandoned my pencils, followed my father paths, became involved with commercial screen-printing and became myself an entrepreneur in Guadeloupe, a French Caribbean island, in French Guyana and later in Dominican Republic.
In 2008, after four years living in Barcelona, I moved back to Dominican Republic but as a full-time artist this time and I started working on a body of paintings that was deeply involved with my own psychology. During the four years spent in Dominican Republic working on the series Rejeté par la mer (Rejected by the Sea) and La possibilité d’une île (The Possibility of an Island), my work was focused on my relationship with my mother and on my genetical, cultural and psychological mixed roots.
In 2012, the year I moved to Miami, I started studying a BFA, but mostly for the purpose of getting an international student visa for my wife and kids and myself. Few months before we moved out of the West Indies, I started working on a new series titled Till Now Everything Is Fine which took me five years to resolve. It didn’t prevent me to work on other smaller projects on the side and I discovered then the joy of making sculpture and working with photography. With the series Till Now Everything Is Fine and during those four years spent in Miami, my problematic was still very embedded with psychology, but because I was living in the U.S. in a very superficial and artificial place, I was becoming as well more aware of the dramatic situation the human world was causing to itself and to the natural environment. My work became dark and my thoughts more critic.
In 2016, after receiving my BFA at the age of 53, I moved alone to Tucson, Arizona with the pretext to follow a MFA and to extend the duration of my international student visa while my green card demand was being processed. I was then very attracted by the wide-open landscape of the American West, which reminded me of the archipelagos and the wide flat seas surrounding them. I started dreaming of land art projects that could be set in empty remote places; something impossible when living on a small island.
When I left Miami, I had two major thoughts that radically changed my artistic trajectory. First, I took the decision to not make any more art with the conceptual idea to blame the human misbehaviors. I wanted my art to be positive and to be proposing new paradigms instead. The voices of many contemporary artists adding up negativity to the frightening messages from the politics and the media are useless if we want to grow towards love as a species. Secondly, while I was getting more interested in philosophy, I suddenly realized that Time, the way we conceptualize it, doesn’t exist and is just a tool to better control the mass.
The new series I started working on when arriving in Tucson then were titled It’s Only a Matter of Time and Expecting Nothing Is Going to Change.
Later on, because I decided to settle for good in the Tucson area, I bought a lot of land in the Sonoran desert with the project to build a house and a studio where I could finally dwell and put an end to my nomadic lifestyle. I carried on developing various bodies of work which were all very embedded with philosophy. I also wrote three extensive notebooks about my philosophical centers of interest which were to find a way to live in peace as a human being on the edge of society and wilderness.
My works titled The Revolutions That Never Happened and A Certain Distance/An Uncertain Time question the responsibility we all have as individuals in a world where everything is connected and interrelate. Our intimate great fear of our own death must also be faced if we want to put at peace for good our fragile egos.
Today, a couple of years after I graduated, I’m looking for an exit to conceptualized art. The schism culture versus nature, highly maintained by postmodernism, is killing our humanism. I’m today interested in the origin of our species and the evolution we have been through since the dawn of mankind; but outside the traditional History and Art History which are the product of the white capitalist supremacists. I’m studying the less official versions of our evolution with the intention to create a bridge between past and future which is less dominated by the systems of authority and more in the hands of the individuals after they get rid of their fear of their intrinsic freedom.
The series of wall sculptures titled How I Remember Things and which I am still expanding points out the necessity to reconnect poetically with our individual history, while the series of paintings titled Not a Landscape Painting is helping me making the transition from conceptuality towards pure innocent intuition.
Written in July 2022