MICA’s Communications office recent talked with Doucet about his creative inspirations, how he became involved with Art Basel and his advice for current MICA students as they seek artistic success.
MICA Communications/ Tell us about your work. What motivates you as an artist?
Morel Doucet/ For as long as I can remember, the theme of nature has been a pivotal fixture in my work. Using direct or suggested human figures, I am interested in exploring narratives of vulnerability, isolation and alienation in my work. The themes of vegetated figures fall heavily into my work; the root, stem and leaf are a complex capillary of networks that symbolically evoke an underlying theme of our connections to nature. To date, I am motivated by issues of sea water rise, coral reef bleaching and climate change about Miami and South Florida.
MICA/ Tell us more about Art Basel in Miami Beach.
M.D./ I’ve been attending Art Basel Miami since its inception in December of 2001. Art Basel is an international art fair with three shows staged annually in Basel, Switzerland; Miami Beach, Florida; and Hong Kong that showcases contemporary works of art by established and newly emerging artist from around the globe. Miami Art Week coincides with Art Basel Miami and attracts over one million visitors from all over the world, including art collectors, dealers, curators, celebrities and artists.
MICA/ Can you tell us about your participation in Art Basel Miami 2017?
M.D./ For Art Basel Miami 2017, I exhibited in two exhibition venues: Prizm Art Fair in Downtown Miami and Bridge Red Studios in North Miami.
[Arts advocate] Mikhaile Solomon started Prizm Art Fair to highlight local Miami artists displaced by the clamor and media frenzy that Art Basel Miami brings to the Magic City during Miami Art Week. Over time, Prizm Art Fair has grown to encompass many artists of the global African Diaspora working in the U.S. and internationally from countries like Jamaica, Barbados, Egypt and South Africa that reflect contemporary art and cross-culture exchange.
On the other hand, Bridge Red Studios is an artists’ complex space in North Miami and past recipient of the Knight Challenge Grant. Its mission is to exhibit, document and promote the work of artists who do not get the exposure merit from their work.
I exhibited selections at both venues from my current body of work titled “White Noise.” The series explores the complexities between the living and malleable in coral reef bleaching, nostalgia as a reconstituted memory, and the socio-environmental experience of the African diaspora, particularly Afro-Caribbean’s, through ecological metaphors of black fragility, skin bleaching, and colorism At Prizm Art Fair, my piece titled: “Exonerated — A drink and a sonnet to the last Barrier Reef” was sold to a local art collector.
MICA/ Any advice for MICA artists and students currently pursuing degrees in ceramics?
M.D./ The rigorous nature of the material prepares you for an interdisciplinary approach to life and problem-solving because you’re continually using both sides of your brain. On one hand, you’re performing complex glazes chemistry, experiments and assessments. On the other hand, you’re exploring the material as a raw substance. As makers and artisans working with ceramic the possibilities are limitless. The minerals hold the building blocks of life and reflect part of our human anatomy. Ceramic as a material is inextricably bound to human history, culture, and economics. It has endured the test of time and continues to form our understanding of past civilizations. Without clay, a vast majority of human history would be missing.
As for students at MICA, my most significant advice would be to diversify your craft, skills and portfolio; take classes outside your chosen majors; and build a network of friends and peers.