Francks F. Décéus born Haiti 1966. He currently resides and maintains a studio in Brooklyn, NY. Deceus received a B.A. in sociology from Long Island University, NY, in 1992. Décéus has studied printmaking at the venerated Bob Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, and in June of 2007, he completed a month-long printmaking residency in Gentilly, France. He was the recipient, in February 2008, of the Samella Lewis Award for Painting in the Hampton University Museum’s juried exhibition, “New Power Generation 2008.”
Throughout his artistic career, Décéus’ work has marched chronologically from his childhood in Haiti, through his immersion into his new urban community as an immigrant, and recently, to his meditations on a conceptual vision of humanity. He has always been more interested in exploring themes and issues than in making definitive statements or creating a visual language with his art, and his work resonates with political and sociological content.
Stylistically his work incorporates many of the influences and aesthetic forms of artists like Norman Lewis and Howarddena Pindell and reverberates with some of the artistic strains of his native Haiti. His modernist style combines figurative, abstract, and layered elements and relies heavily on a simplification of form and function. A semiotic economy, minimalist use of imagery, and a deliberately limited palette range within a series of works characterize his work.
“Rooted in my experience as a Black man and Haitian immigrant raised in an urban context in the United States of America, I explore the tension between self-actualization and social structures. Through conceptual, abstract, and figurative painting, collage and drawing I examine a layered experience of identity. With an understanding of myself as a human being, an immigrant, and a racialized body, the negotiation of power dynamics rooted in historical systems and practices generates a particular type of pressure on both myself and other bodies of color; one that impedes our existence, our livelihoods and our ability to move freely within society. This pressure is embodied visually in the loaded symbolism of the hose – most notably a tool of violence in the civil rights movement – which acts as the central antagonist in my most recent body of work, Mumbo Jumbo.
Inspired by a similarly titled novel by author Ishmael Reed, the series echoes and abstracts Reed’s attempts to capture the complexities of African American identity and its challenges and distortions at the hands of external pressures. Just as Reed subverts these pressures through the amplification of his protagonist’s humanity, my work periodically inserts, albeit with some obfuscation, a protagonist whose smile acts as an immediate reminder to the viewer of the vibrancy and resilience of the inner self. The intersection of the African American experience, referenced by Reed, and a Haitian immigrant experience – through shared Black skin – is further articulated in my work through a mixture of references ranging from social media emojis, romantic love, and urban fashion to iconography from voodoo ceremonies derived from diasporic links to Africa.”