On Saturday, November 3, 2012, CHG Circa will feature “La Catrina,” Sylvia Ji’s new paintings of sublime Catrina beauty and her fifth solo exhibition with the gallery.
Central to the paintings of “La Catrina” is the specter of La Calavera Catrina, an iconic deity of Mexico’s “Day of the Dead” celebrations, invoked by Sylvia Ji as a chromatic presence enciphered with allegory. “I wanted to revisit this female figure that haunts me, the Catrina, and put her in a less sexually provocative form to a more concerned, almost sad tranquility and reflection,” says Ji.
La Calavera Catrina, or The Elegant Skull, was originally portrayed in 1910s by the Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada as a richly adorned skeletal figure and became an enduring icon of the “Day of the Dead” celebrations. The Catrina was adoptive of the Aztecan goddess Mictecacihuatl who in the afterlife watched over the bones of the dead and all commemorating festivals. In “La Catrina,” the Lady of the Dead oversees the artist’s changes, divined through painting, and reflective with her unearthly visage.
“The color red is still prominent in a lot of the work, but takes on new meaning as the color of blood,” says Ji. “Not only is red prominent, but other colorful jewel tones as well; also intricate use of gold, copper and silver leaf.” Red hues change from the noir to traditional, shapeshifting its figure’s lives from the past to the present. As a painterly possession, “La Catrina” reveals the contemporary as a translucent identity of the past. “Many of the eyes are closed, mouths drawn in a sort of calm resignation to fate.” “La Catrina” exorcises the contemporary, where the past remains an ongoing force, grounding the present with an unworldly vibrance.
“La Catrina” will exhibit twenty-three paintings, including a series of smaller works. “I’ve tried to incorporate many of the textiles and patterns that evoke the indigenous spirit of Mexico,” says Sylvia. The rich hues and tonalities inlaid with traditional patterns and metallic foil motifs create an exhibition of saturnine beauty, resonant with life.
The opening reception for “La Catrina” takes place Saturday, November 3 at CHG Circa. The reception is open to the public, and the exhibition will be on view through December 1, 2012.
Opening Reception Saturday, November 3, 2012 from 7-10 pm
On View November 3 to December 1, 2012
8530-A Washington Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232