Thursday, March 18, 2004 to Saturday, April 24, 2004

    • Friday, March 19, 2004
    As a speaker, María Lezón is able to string together in one sentence words like "passion", "chorizo", "lolita", "calor" and "cellulitis" while still making sense of an experience that is particularly female. As an artist she is able to transpose the same mode of thinking to the creation of complex, multilayered, difficult paintings, complicating the representation of women in art and expanding the tradition of painting. Wallpaper, the most recent body of work by this prolific painter, attests to the persistence and relevance of painting despite the critiques it has endured from conceptualism. Lezón's work aspires to catch interconnections and possibilities within the realm of the metaphoric and symbolic. She describes it as reflecting a global connection, pointing to a state of absurdity that reflects infinite options and appropriations. This practice addresses a continued desire to paint, and it is presented not as a redundant practice of nostalgia, but as a critical medium to articulate contemporary experiences. Wallpaper extends Lezón's complex body of works, exploring the representation of women in dreamlike landscapes, wearing glamorous outfits, standing voluptuously and with style. Her paintings evoke the history of the medium by means of images that speak of social experience and present events. Within a frame of hybridity, postmodernism, border culture and feminism, Lezón creates contemporary landscapes and female personas placed solidly on paintings’ surfaces. Derivative of a Baroque style, Lezón's work depicts a nature of hybridity and postmodernity. It is immersed in the baroque through a sensuous richness, drama, vitality, movement, tension, emotional exuberance, and a blurring of distinctions among various painting gestures. In recent communications with Lezón, she referred to her practice as guided by an exploration of the representation of women, particularly in the domestic sphere, and of the continued necessity for women to negotiate these images even to this day. Her work focuses on the power of narrative and interpretation to inform our experiences. Questions about the creation and perception of the work come to the forefront through complex compositions and pairings. The recognition of improbable places and characters prompts the viewer to question the authority of the image, the intention of the artist and subsequently the meaning of the work. In "La Soirée", the weight of the work is concentrated in the positioning of the female characters in the group. In ultra-baroque style, Lezón makes the contrast of dark and light in this painting originate from a divine place; however, in this case, the light originates from the television screen, a window that she refers to as "the portal to a partial world". Although employing a derivative baroque and collage style, Lezón challenges the traditional conventions in which women have been portrayed. Iconoclastically, Lezón's images do not shore up the stability and prosperity of society as a whole. The women in this painting inspire no maternal sweetness or pious devotion. On the contrary, these contorted yet credible female personas stand sensuously alone. The representation of women in Lezón's paintings again says accepted social roles for women; the symbolism of the women's appearance yields a superior presence, extreme and beautiful, untouchable and unreal. However, the filtration of everyday news into the landscape of the paintings dates and locates their constructed spaces. Thus, an image of Saddam Hussein in the television or the newspaper directs us to our personal experience and the everyday. Wallpaper reflects Lezón's wealth of ideas and attitudes, from highly personal autobiographical concerns to the exploration of the most significant social and political topics. The work encourages powerful engagements of regional histories and memories to humorous and irreverent critiques of contemporary global culture. Addressing the legacy of Baroque art, the hybridity of border (global) culture and pop culture, Lezón's paintings challenge and delight with their unique beauty; women are neither elevated nor devalued, they simply exist awkwardly in an unbalanced world. --Jessie Lacayo, Curator