Who gets to be a princess? Solo show at Boca Museum begs the question

Vickie Pierre
Boca Raton Museum of Art

“Once upon a time” meets “Off with their heads!” in the latest exhibition from Boca Raton Museum of Art, where tar-colored vintage ornaments, baroque motifs and headless perfume bottles make up for a twisted fairy tale.

Witness me.
Release me.
I shouldn’t let you conquer me so sweetly.

They are among the cryptic opening lines framing the romantic wall installations in Vicki Pierre: Be My Herald of What’s to Come. Running through September 5, the show explores personal and universal notions of identity, femininity, colonialism, and race while avoiding the excessively declarative tone.

The heavily decorative characteristic of Pierre’s assemblages floods the second-floor gallery with drama and theatrics; the sanitized and dull get flushed out. The creations combine elements from her memories and Haitian heritage, including the Caribbean community at large, with fantasy, surrealism, and pop culture.

“My intention is always to create work that is honest and authentic to me, that moves me forward on a path of personal growth and understanding of my place in the world, universe,” said Pierre, who grew up in Brooklyn and attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Each piece contains within it mini-vignettes dressed up in rococo, European flourishes and Victorian adornments, all of which Pierre recalls from her childhood home in Brooklyn. They are made up of items the artist has collected through the years, such as Avon perfume bottles that personify women in period skirts and capes and galleon ships that symbolize the slave trade. The ornamental clusters formed by the grouping of these objects are not meant to be seen isolated. Each piece should be taken in as a whole, hence the sparkling beads connecting all the mini-scenes in I Can’t Say No to You (Good Enough).  More in link.