Born 1984, Les Cayes, Haiti
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
Andy Robert is a painter who balances abstraction with recognizable imagery, and enjoys the experimentation and tinkering that comes with painting pictures. His work relies on the idea that images are to be bent and folded, taken apart and put back together again; a belief that art is a philosophical means to look at and examine things—to question, test ideas, and engage with the world. And that in painting a picture something is being taken apart to put back together; there is an inherent risk in breaking it. As a Haitian-American immigrant and painter, Robert views the world critically as a contradiction of mass-communication and increased voicelessness.
Robert's work has been exhibited in Los Angeles at Blum & Poe, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, and Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery; domestically at the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and internationally at the Bienal de las Fronteras at the Instituto Tamaulipeco para la Cultura y las Artes, Tamaulipas, Mexico; and at the Paris Avant Premiere, Paris, France. His 2017 solo exhibition LAKOU: ONE TWO FIVE was presented at Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles.
He is the recipient of a California Community Foundation Fellowship Award for Visual Arts Grant, a Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant, and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Artadia Awards (2018) and the William H. Johnson Prize (2017). Robert holds an M.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts, and also attended the Whitney Independent Study Program, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the Studio Museum in Harlem Artist in Residency Program.
I'm engaged in a deeply personal and experimental approach with my materials, and want my paintings to feel like sketches—quick with the immediacy and intimacy of a rough draft, but thought out in terms of their scale, detail, and consideration. As with a thumbnail, my intuitive beginning impulses, gestural marks of adding and removing of paint and line, are preserved and valued when a painting is to approach its finish, its resolve.
When in the studio, I allow things to permeate. I draw from both observation and various source materials. I am critically reflecting on a mass inequality of wealth and power, on economic debt as linked invariably to a “maroonage," a marginalization, and autonomy—a making due, a brokenness of being.
My approach to painting negotiates both how a contemporary image is made, understood, and seen: its contextualization. Images come against the body. And, in rendered layers and variations in finish, surface, texture, and detail, I emphasize this friction. In the breaking of the picture plane, deconstructive and colliding shifts in perspective, time, and space, a melding of simultaneity—the past, present, and future—an opaque sense of the infinite and sublime, of terror and vulnerability, is felt.