Elizabeth Martineau is a Haitian-born artist who has developed a unique style of painting using a combination of paper, fabrics, acrylics, and other paint. Her work is characterized by its vibrant colors and a thick, black brushstroke that outlines her subjects. Martineau’s themes are diverse, ranging from serene portraits to forest priestesses and enigmatic masks and totems.
Martineau was born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she was exposed to art from an early age. Her uncle, the architect and sculptor Albert Mangones, was a co-founder of the Centre d’Art, where all of Haiti’s artists congregated. Among his friends and frequent guests were Charlie Chaplin, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, le Corbusier, Alexander Calder, and Lois Mailou Jones, who was also Martineau’s godmother. Martineau’s upbringing in this artistic milieu gave her a deep appreciation for the arts and influenced her own artistic style.
Martineau approaches her work like a sculptor. She applies layers of paper of varying sizes and textures on a sheet of Arches paper and paints with acrylic over this support. This technique creates a unique texture and depth to her paintings, adding to the overall vibrancy of her work. Her subjects are delineated by a thick, black brushstroke, giving them a sense of weight and presence on the canvas. Martineau finishes her paintings with streaks of golden paint and a coat of varnish, adding a warm and luminous glow to the finished piece.
Martineau’s work has been exhibited in Colombia, France, Haiti, and the United States, and is featured in numerous collections. Her style and choice of medium set her apart from other contemporary artists, and her unique approach to painting has captivated audiences worldwide. Her work is not only a celebration of her Haitian roots but also a reflection of her diverse life experiences and passion for the arts.