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--> Category: Chenet, Burton 

Burton Chenet is the product of two cultures. He studied Fine Arts in the United States and now lives in Haiti.
His aesthetic curiosity has kept him in touch with the different -schools- in the country and has led him to reflect upon their many similarities and differences, mainly differences due to the very rich contribution of so many cultures. He also tried to understand which could be the source of his creativity. If today, Burton has not totally set aside his previous influences (American painters), in his latest paintings he does claim his Haitian roots in when choosing his subjects.

His paintings are, above all, a look on his artistic environment, on certain painters who have made a mark on their time and increasingly influenced the young modern painters, these uncontested masters of naive art : St. Brice, painter of the depths of the Haitian psyche, Georges Liautaud, the blacksmith of crosses become sculptor who started the well known school of the voodoo blacksmiths and who is one of the .magicians of the earth-. He also observed the -worker-artists- who, day after day, weave the -veves- with infinite patience. Chenet has captured their signs, forms and colors. His paintings remind us of these voodoo flags, colorful banners carried by the temple dancers or hounsis. His imagery is loaded with these symbols, these links to Haitian reality. Chenet's search may have taken him through the closed gates of town cemeteries or the enclosed gardens of the villas of his entourage. He also retained captivating images. An amalgam of lines, forms and arabesques that he puts on his canvas with quite
disciplined exuberance.

What is most striking in his work is the abundance of colors, intense blues from the sky and the sea, the strong greens of palm trees, the ebony black of the wrought iron artist, colors softened by reminiscences of autumn, the brownish ochre, raw sienna blended with white when he comes back to his earlier influences.

Burton Chenet was not influenced only by some American masters. One also finds a certain impressionist tendency in many of his most recent paintings -Montagnes et lumieres-, -0cean et plage-, -Fenetre bleue- have been embossed. -La barriere-, which follows the same tendency, is rather mysterious: a door which opens and closes on something is in front of a wall and has no hook nor lock. -Sept coeurs-, reminiscent of Erzulie's veves, -Le magicien- with his multiple hands is also a reminder or a parody of a guede and -Marinet-, -Marassa- and -Le chien- are also part of Haitian imaginary. His technique has kept the touch and often the composition of painters known as modern in Haitian or even universal language, precisely in opposition to the school known as naive which I prefer to call spontaneous.

Despite his apparent casualness, Burton Chenet is a steady and conscientious worker, an artist to whom painting means permanent inquiry. His studio is full of paintings of many tendencies, an indication of his capacity for work. Unlike the Haitian naive painters who inspired him, he does not approach his subjects as a believer but rather as an aesthete. He knows no duality: he advances quietly, at least now, to explore the immense resources and artistic wealth of his native land. His work attracts, intrigues and raises thoughts and interrogations, while expecting the visitors to find themselves the keys to open the closed doors of his artistic universe.



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