Vidho Lorville

Biography

Vidho Lorville was born June 14,1970 in Carrefour, a suburb of Port-au-Prince well known for its vibrant artist's community. He grew up surrounded by such celebrated Haitian artists as Ernts Luizor, Dieudonne Cedor, Robert St. Brice, Sisson Blanchard and Gerard Paul. At school he was considered a bright (if somewhat distracted and wayward) student, often reprimanded for filling his homework notebook with drawings and sketches rather than mathematics and French grammar.

In 1989 A nephew of Luizor gave him his first tube of oil paint. Along with almost a dozen other aspiring young artists Vidho began painting in Luizor's atelier. While he learned much from the impressionist master he soon began to develop his own style, one that focused more on the expressive qualities of his subjects, almost always women; exploring the details of their clothing, their gestures but above all the haunted and challenging look in their eyes. Nevertheless, Vidho's early work was clearly influenced and enriched by the technique of the Haitian impressionist, marked by a minute attention to detail and a luxurious use of lively color softened with somber tones.

In 1991 the painter Mario Fabien exposed him to the use of acrylic paints and urged him to enroll at the National School of Art (Enarts), advice which Vidho followed upon completion of high school in 1993. Vidho became a leading student at ENARTS, developing his technical skills in figurative painting and acrylic technique, while also taking an active part in the student movement that challenged the Ministry of Culture over the emphasis on Western-influenced art form and technique.

Inspired by his participation in the student movement and by the larger democratic movement for change in Haiti, Vidho entered a national labor union, organizing artists and tourist workers,and began travelling throughout Latin America to participate in international labor conferences. Orphaned by the age of 21, Vidho was forced to support himself entirely through his painting, and moved into a dilapidated hotel room in a noisy (but lively) section of downtown Port-au-Prince. Here his work took on the color and texture of his new surroundings; the green and verdant disappear and were replaced by cracked walls and other signs of urban decay.

While still working with acrylic on canvas, Vidho turned to collage techniques, using cement, scraps of metal and slabs of wood to evoke the feel and texture of the poverty-stricken yet vibrant city. Vidho's subject matter changed as he began to treat the political and social drama he was witness to. His work moved farther away from the naturalism of his early impressionist influences and closer to a surreal aesthetic, infused with symbols drawn from the mystical Haitian imagination. In these paintings, the real and the imaginary confront each other in a visual language that is terrible and poignant, yet disarmingly hopeful. The haunted and challenging look in the eyes of his subjects now become the expression of the landscape itself, lending Vidho's paintings, at their best, a raw intensity and a rare power to disturb.

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