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Views From Within: Christian Duran and Vickie Pierre

Views from Within: Christian Duran and Vickie Pierre,  2006.

Views from Within: Christian Duran and Vickie Pierre, 2006.

Christian Duran and Vickie Pierre are young artists living and working in Miami. Though they have known each other for a number of years and have even exhibited their work together in group exhibitions in the past, they work quite independently—Duran in his quiet home studio in Hialeah Gardens and Pierre in her studio in the heart of Miami Beach. At the same time there are interesting parallels in their work.

Duran and Pierre seek, in different yet distinctly poetic ways, to connect themselves to the greater world around them. Using delicate lines and colors that range from the earthiest browns to the softest pinks and blues, they express through their artworks the hope that there are forces of life anda love that link us to the world around us. These links, in turn, give each of us a stronger sense of ourselves.

Duran has converted his fascination with the systems of life into complex webs of lines that bring together natural and human forms. Plant roots and branches become human veins and then back again, all serving as vessels for life-sustaining substances. While there is a scientific aspect to his work, there is a much stronger sense of imagination and wonder. For there are not simply physical parallelsibetween the structures of plants and human anatomy in Duran’s drawings, collages and paintings, but metaphors for a spiritual union between all life forms. It is within this union that Duran demonstrates his artistic vision. As he has stated, “I aspire to find my own poetry concerning the intangible self, as well as bring to mind the spirit of the human psyche.” To accentuate the connections between art and nature, Duran mixes his own blends of pigment and metallic powders so that his creations not only shimmer with life but owe much of their essence to natural materials.

Pierre’s works also represent personal explorations and searches for connections. Her paintings from six to eight years ago are richly colored, small-scale settings in which dreamy narratives are presented. The titles reveal quite intimate moments, most often reading as love stories in miniature. Text is used in these earlier worksi both for its graphic/decorative impact and as evidence of the stories floatingi within the fantastic shapes and airy environment. The linear elements of these works have taken on increased prominence in Pierre’s most recent work. While de-emphasizing the density and sensuousness of the background, she has brought our attention to the flow of the lines across and even into the canvas. And the lines often have a tangible source: Pierre uses stamps representing Disney characters such as Sleeping Beauty to create the sense of flow and pattern seeni in paintings such as Mothers and Daughters. Though the bases for these works are often obscured through Pierre’s reworking of the stamped images, their romantic and nostalgic qualities represent our impulse to reach out to others even as we continue to explore the mystery of our selves.