About the Artist

Photo: Robert DiScalfani

Mango trees hanging low, slow cooking fires, reverberations of a drum reflected in his mother’s pocket mirror. Candílo’s work invites you to travel back to indelible memories of his childhood in the Caribbean. All of these natural bounties flourish through his studio space in Flatbush, Brooklyn where he has been based for the last couple of decades, interspersed with years in Atlanta & Los Angeles.

Born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti in 1971, he underwent training in traditional folkloric painting, a style he cherishes for its cultural affinity and which he has since refracted into complex landscapes and imaginative creative artwork. His natural and intuitive talents are unmistakable. With fervor to challenge his own art and the naked eye, he recasts his memories into poetic reinterpretations. His nostalgic sensibility is ever so alive in his visual retelling of stories, happening across moments in time by creating a depth of field that lets us relive memories as they are reconstituted in his abstract mind.

Versed in a variety of styles ranging from Surrealism to Cubism, Candílo intricately intertwines figurative symbolism and geometric patterning. Different planes cut through astral spheres grounded through earthly figures and elements central to Haitian Vaudou ceremonies: handmade chairs, vessels and stylized drapeaux.

Asserting his playful mind with the ability to see life through the eyes of a child: Candílo takes elements of his subject and constantly rotates its placement and spatial dimensions, giving equal power to the image of his paintings at every orientation. In many instances he begins at what is typically considered the back of a canvas and goes through to the front with no limits to the layers it takes to complete the work at hand. As a result, his work is an excavation of memories and stories with details of each layer remaining lightly discernible through to the next.

The pain of poverty at most times was inescapable for Candílo and his family. Art has been his constant companion and a way for him to cleanse his suffering. For Candílo art is a connection to the divine and the powerful heritage of Haiti and his prodigious respect for the greater universe – a connection that comes through with each brushstroke, an emanation of the highest degree of integrity, human expressions and gratified labor.

About the artist Candilo