Adler Guerrier: The Artist Geographer By Emily Brouillet
At first glance, you probably wouldn’t describe Adler Guerrier’s work as landscape, but his art is deeply connected to ideas of place and geography. Specifically, his adopted hometown of Miami has become a “subtext” of his work. Adler, who was born in Haiti and has lived in Florida since he was twelve, says that Miami feels like “an extension of the Caribbean” and that living there is “a huge part of who I’ve become.”
Many of Adler’s pieces, like the ones he made for Twyla, start from photographs he takes on his frequent walks through Miami. In the past, Adler has intriguingly described walking as both a personal and political act. Walking allows for greater focus and discovery. Unlike driving or flying, Adler appreciates that it lets him get closer to things and see what he might otherwise miss.
On his walks, Adler investigates all of the parts of his city— “from the far edges to close in.” It’s as if he has mapped the geography of Miami with his feet.
Beyond its exploratory nature, Adler describes the quiet power that comes from the fact that walking is an activity “that’s hard for anyone to infringe on.” When a group of people walk together, it can have military connotations, or it can become a march, a collective movement in support of something greater. Mostly though, there is a sense that Adler’s walks are solitary, artistic moments where he captures the spaces and places that inspire his layered work.
While his art is undoubtedly rooted in Miami, Adler’s work ultimately represents bigger, less localized concepts. Or, as he says, “they offer more than just the snapshot of this moment.” In the studio, he combines photography with watercolor, graphite and even digital techniques to create the final pieces. Through his process, Adler says that he’s interested in ”toning down the specificness and ‘toning up’ the experience of living somewhere.” In the end, the collage-like images that Adler constructs have a universal appeal and allow anyone to imagine themselves into their soft, dreamlike scenes.