The Gallery of African Art (GAFRA) is pleased to present an exhibition of works by the Haitian-Canadian artist Marie-Geneviève Morin, artistically known as 'M'. As her first solo exhibition in the UK, this show is a selection of her recent works, and exemplifies her non-conformist tendency of experimenting in a variety of mediums.
Born in Montreal, Quebec - a city where she still resides - M was the youngest child in a family of five adopted children and the only person of colour in a Caucasian family. This hybrid of cultural influences marked her childhood, leaving the young M with a sensation of "not truly belonging". The childhood experiences caused M to initiate a life-long journey to discover her heritage and reacquaint herself with her Haitian family and roots. As an artist she is self-taught, and art became a form of therapy in her life. Through art, M escapes, releases her emotions and frustrations, and creates a "safe place" where she can express her inner self.
M is recognised for her intense, raw and passionate use of multi-media materials. She deliberately breaks with conventional rules and expectations by being unplanned, unstudied and unapologetic. Working mainly in large format, she attacks the canvas with a visceral process she calls "trashing", using her saliva to mix paint and her hand as the palette board. This technique is evident in works such as Resilience, Celebrations and La Deplume, where paint is wildly thrown at the canvas, dripped over and layered on. The dripping of paints is also present in the experimental pieces on black refuse sacks and old vinyl records.
Each of M's paintings represents the time, physical space and mood she inhabits at the moment, without offering interpretations or commentaries relating to the external world she lives in. As such, the characters, icons and messages on the canvases harness her channelled energy and emotional state of mind.
M's work is deeply personal. It represents her quest to understand her heritage, discover her identity and pay homage to her Haitian roots. This intuitive approach infuses her work with an energy that is barely contained within the boundaries of the canvas, exhibiting naked emotion, and exposing her subconscious for all to see.