Taking from his experience being raised as a black man in an urban setting and as a son of Haitian immigrants, Deceus utilizes abstract and figurative painting along with collage and drawing to further explore the dynamic between self-actualization and social structures. His work aims to explore the internal complexities of layered identity found within bodies of color who continuously face a unique external pressure, “one that impedes our existence, our livelihoods, and our ability to move freely within society. This pressure is embodied visually in the loaded symbolism of the hose – most notably a tool of violence in the civil rights movement – which acts as the central antagonist…”
By utilizing a mix of references ranging from social media emojis to iconography from African diasporic voodoo ceremonies, he bridges the gap between the African-American experience and the Haitian immigrant experience.
“While skin color and ancestry may be shared, nuanced details of identity information in the context of Blackness lay hidden in the work: namely, the disillusionment and failed expectations of immigrants, particularly Black immigrants, at the hands of an overrated, inflated, and naive perception of the American Dream. An absurd, harsh reality wrapped in the visual metaphor of the unwieldy, dangerously autonomous hose — so empowered that it now moves on its own, without a master, other than the structural legacies of colonialism and imperialism. Ultimately, the scale of the labyrinthian web of the hose dwarfs the co-mingling of cultural references.”
“Similar to the American Dream, at first glance, the work suggests a certain playfulness through both form and content: color, symbols, shape, pattern, repetition, and the sinuous, non-linear hoses – flexible tubes that convey water and movement – that wind through spatial planes. However, offering a slow burn, the works are imbued with the ethos “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil,” while also acknowledging the exhaustion and ongoing effort it takes to rise above the chokehold of oppressive forces in pursuit of love and empathy.”
Deceus received a B.A. in sociology from Long Island University, NY, in 1992. Deceus studied printmaking at the venerated Bob Blackburn Printmaking Workshop and completed a month-long printmaking residency in Gentilly, France in 2007. Solo exhibitions include the Pounder-Kone Art Space, Los Angeles; Tilford Art Group, Los Angeles.
Group exhibitions include the Brooklyn Museum, NY; Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts (MOCADA), Brooklyn, NY; The National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, TN; Gallery M, New York, NY; and Hampton University, Hampton, VA.
Works of Deceus have entered numerous private and public collections, including Xavier University, New Orleans, LA, and the Schomburg Center, New York Public Library, NY. He currently maintains a studio in Brooklyn, N.Y.