Venus De Milo, 2020

Next Big Things: Kathia St. Hilaire

The Miami-based artist, who uses unconventional materials in her unique paintings, is gearing up for her first solo show at Perrotin next summer

Kathia St.Hilaire Photo: Courtesy of the aritst

With a unique painting language, Kathia St. Hilaire distinctively mixes images of exoticized Caribbean seascapes or family gatherings with packaging for sugar or box braids, items that relate to her Haitian identity. “I look at different types of commercial or raw materials that play an important role in the Black diaspora,” she says. “I think so much about race is surface level, and there is little understanding about the culture.”

Breakout moments: A recent graduate of Yale with an MFA in painting and printmaking, St. Hilaire has already exhibited at Derek Eller Gallery, Skidmore’s Tang Museum, Half Gallery, and Blum & Poe. In 2019, she won the prestigious Jorge M. Pérez Award.

Made in China, 2020 Photo: KATHIA ST. HILAIRE

Unique process: St. Hilaire’s layered paintings nod to her undergraduate training in printmaking at the Rhode Island School of Design. Using a reduction relief-printing technique, she starts with a large drawing before transferring it onto a sheet of linoleum, which she then carves out in small sections and prints onto everything from beauty products to tires. These steps are repeated multiple times until the whole linoleum is carved away.

Legba, 2020 Photo: KATHIA ST. HILAIRE

Inspirations: Traditional vodun flag makers and artists such as Pierre Bonnard, Vincent Smith, Belkis Ayón, and Chris Ofili. 

Up Next: A major solo exhibition at Perrotin in New York in Summer 2021. “I have been more focused on investing in figurative painting and how using unconventional materials can be a new painting language.”

A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2020 Winter Issue under the headline “Next Big Things.” Subscribe to the magazine.

La Sirene, 2020 Photo: KATHIA ST. HILAIRE

“Kathia blends sewing, collage, painting, and textile production with the subtlest touch imaginable.”

Bill Powers, founder, Half Gallery
Cover: Venus De Milo, 2020


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