HITTING THE APEX
Olivier Souffrant’s upcoming solo exhibition at Stems Gallery is one that has been highly anticipated, and with good reason. As a rising talent in the art world, Souffrant has garnered attention for his unconventional and visionary approach to art. Born in Haiti and trained in Chicago, Souffrant draws inspiration from his passion for sport, which serves as the driving force for his latest show. Titled Hitting the Apex, the exhibition features nine bodies of work, each brimming with Souffrant’s unique style.
Souffrant’s work is characterized by his distinctive printing technique, which he combines with traditional painting methods to create visually stunning and multi-layered works of art. His canvases start with references sourced from the internet, which he carefully selects and strategically arranges to create a cohesive and impactful narrative. The result is a body of work that pays homage to the past while looking ahead to the future of art.
The paintings in Hitting the Apex showcase Souffrant’s mastery of relatability, iconography, and pride, all of which are inherent in the world of sport. His signature pastel-topped acrylics and the frequent integration of once identifiable faces that are no longer finite to its spectators are evident in each piece. With his incredible attention to detail and skillful use of color and form, Souffrant reframes iconic moments in sport history and creates a layered celebration of connectivity.
Souffrant’s work has been compared to that of Jean-Michel Basquiat, as both artists share a passion for creating something entirely new out of the influences that inspire them. However, Souffrant’s voice is unique and entirely his own, as he brings his own personal flair and finesse to each piece. He has found a way to create a cohesive narrative in his work that speaks to his own experiences and vision.
From landscapes of volleyball to equestrian riding or the unforgettable black mamba that the late Kobe Bryant represented, one of the most impressive aspects of Souffrant’s work in this particular show is his use of scale. The nine bodies of work that make up Hitting the Apex are all larger than life, with some canvases reaching heights that the average person cannot reach. This sense of scale creates a feeling of immersion for the viewer, as if they are experiencing the world of sport from an elevated perspective. This approach speaks to Souffrant’s ability to take something that is familiar and transform it into something entirely different and exciting.
The use of sport as a driving force for Hitting the Apex also speaks to the universality of Souffrant’s work. Sport is a part of many people’s lives and holds a special place in our collective consciousness. By using sport as a lens through which to view his work, Souffrant is able to create a sense of relatability and connection that transcends cultural and geographic boundaries. The paintings in Hitting the Apex are a celebration of the human experience and the joy that can be found in the everyday moments of life.
In terms of technique, Souffrant’s work is a masterclass in the fusion of traditional and digital art forms. His digital approach creates a layered and dynamic effect. This approach highlights Souffrant’s ability to innovate and push the boundaries of what is possible in the world of art.
-- Cassandra Pintro