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CEAM solo artist set to close out exhibition with gallery walkthrough

Oct 21, 2022
by Anna Boone

For more than a decade, Florine Démosthène has explored the concept of love that we all chase but never fully understand through conversations with close friends and strangers from her travels.

“As I reflected on a lot of the conversations I had over the years, it’s always a battle between a religious version of love, a traditional version of love, and a modern version of love,” she said.

These conflicting ideas of love are the basis for her Crisp-Ellert Art Museum exhibition “Always in All Ways” which she considers to be a continuation of her exhibition in Paris earlier this year “In the Realm of Love.”

The exhibition runs through Sunday, Oct. 22 but Démosthène will give a walkthrough of the show in conjunction with First Friday Art Walk on Friday, Oct. 20 at 5 p.m. The walkthrough is free to attend and open to the public. Students and community members are encouraged to come and actively engage with Démosthène while she details the themes and elements of her artwork.

“Always in All Ways” consists of twelve mixed-media collages on paper and a sculpture display. Démosthène bases her collages on digital self-photography and completely arranges them on a computer before even touching her materials which she said creates a more streamlined process.

This process allows Démosthène to “move through the work and move through the ideas really quickly.”

The decision to base her work on photos of her own body was strictly practical and Démosthène said she doesn’t see her art as autobiographical.

“I just have the access to a physical body that I want to use,” she said.

A desire for her art to allow universal understanding underscores the separation Démosthène creates between herself and the content of her work.

“The number one thing for me is when an average person can walk up to my work and understand what it’s about,” she said.  

The familiar themes of love Démosthène conveys through “Always in All Ways” are well suited for this goal.

“I want them to see themselves in it, I want them to think about their own experiences,” she said.

Not only does Démosthène want her art to easily register with anyone, but she said the responses from students and everyday people to her work are also incredibly valuable. She said it was this value along with her affinity for art education that drew her to Flagler for this exhibition.

“I’m not always chasing the big art things, the small things are equally important,” Démosthène said.

She spent her years as an art student studying in New York City, earning a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Parsons School for Design and a master’s degree in fine arts from Hunter College. While she has worked outside of the art world, namely in higher education, Démosthène’s career as an artist has been prolific and extensive.

With work displayed across the world in places like the Smithsonian Museum of African American History & Culture, Démosthène said she understands the value of exhibiting in colleges and universities because of her own time as an art student.

“I know what it means when you’re not in a big city and you don’t have the access to art, everything’s online or in books,” she said.

Démosthène wanted to be a part of creating this real-life art exposure for Flagler students and encourages other artists to do the same.

“I think it’s important for them to exchange with students,” she said. “Also, a lot of artists have an M.F.A., so they know, they remember what it was like.”

 

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