Marela Zacarias, “Echoing Forms,” February–April 2017
1515 Broadway, NYC
Visible throughout the 44th Street entrance and Visitor Center, Zacarias’ work featured painted geometric patterns on billowing, fabric-like sculpture that seemed to defy gravity. Zacarias also led a workshop for Viacom employees about creating art from everyday found objects.
There are many parallels between the work of visual artists and the work of those who work at Viacom, as we are all involved in the creative process. We are given (or we give ourselves) a set of tools — problems to solve, materials to work with, stories to create and interpret — and we let our creativity and intuition take over. We create magic by bringing things to life that didn’t exist before. We are culture catalysts; we help transform information that surrounds us into art or, in Viacom’s case, media. Having these overlapping similarities in mind, I have created the works for Echoing Forms, a site-specific installation that is about the creative process itself. The explosion of form and color seen in these works is based on the potential of a medium to create meaning using plastic elements and materials as expressive devices. As in any art form, the final interpretation of the works is up to the viewer. I put the work forward with an intention of meaning, but the final reception of such intent depends on the people who see the works. While creating sculptures that are suspended in mid-air, for example, I thought about how their upward movement and colorful nature embodies a sense of optimism and lightness. Will others feel this too when they look at the works, or will they project their own feelings and imagery onto the sculptures? Leaving rigid definitions of early abstraction behind, these works combine biomorphic sculptures with geometric shapes to create dynamic works that interact with the architecture of the building and with the people who walk through the installation on their way in and out of work. It is my hope that the people who see and experience these works will jump into an echoing dialogue between my creative process and their own.
Opening Reception: Material Cultures Exhibition
DATE • Sep 7, 2016 • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Gallery at BRIC House
647 Fulton Street (Enter on Rockwell Place) Brooklyn, NY 11217
Marela Zacarias, Oulad Bou Sbaa, 2016
JOIN US FOR THE OPENING RECEPTION!
Jordana Munk Martin, founder of Oak Knit Studio and TATTER.org, Brooklyn
Elizabeth Ferrer, Vice President of Contemporary Art, BRIC
Jenny Gerow, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, BRIC
Material Cultures is a group exhibition featuring the work of eight contemporary visual artists who engage with and respond to essential elements of textile: weaving, pattern, draping, embellishing, and wearing. One of the oldest forms of human production, textiles maintain profound connections to history, ritual practice, cultural identity, creative expression, and politics. Working with sculpture, installation, performance, and social practice, the artists in Material Cultures produce works that highlight the role of textiles in shaping traditional and contemporary culture, recognizing the conceptual power of cloth as reflective of the human experience. Exhibiting artists include Laura Anderson Barbata, Xenobia Bailey, Lucia Cuba, Adrian Esparza, Elana Herzog, Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia, Sophia Narrett, and Marela Zacarias.
Some of the artists in Material Cultures respond to existing cloth as objects with the power to stimulate memory or meaning, using the charged implications of textiles to unravel specific aspects of culture. Laura Anderson Barbata exhibits a group of costumes that explore the ways in which indigo - a dye used in fabric internationally and carrying varied political and social implications - functions when activated by the body. Elana Herzog explores the physicality of the Persian rug—a domestic object, an emblem of civilization—as well as ideas of collapse and growth. Her work tells a history of evolution yet alludes to the ruinous fate of objects, nature, order, and social structures.
Other artists produce their work using such textile-specific techniques as crochet and embroidery. Working with crochet since the 1970s and drawn to the “aesthetic of funk,” costume designer and artist Xenobia Bailey presents a crocheted tent, a form that suggests protection, the gospel revival tent of the American rural south, and the realm of mythology. And Sophia Narrett uses complex embroidered paintings to explore the dark underside of American popular culture and its expectations of women, gathering content from reality TV, tabloids, social media, and her own experiences. Artist Lucia Cuba finds meaning in textiles by conceiving them as wearable objects with agency. She continues exploring issues of health and politics through her project Exercises on Health - Part 2, a series of garment-base explorations developed through interviews conducted with individuals dealing with cancer. The garments are meant to trigger conversations about illness and health, and the ways we experience and understand them.
Still other artists find powerful content within the technical aspects of cloth-making, drawing formal connections between textile technique and artistic concept. Inspired by his childhood on the borderlands between Mexico and the United States, Adrian Esparza uses the stereotypical symbol of traditional Mexican culture, the serape, and deconstructs it to create ephemeral geometric abstractions, expanding upon the ability for cultural objects to be understood and interacted with. Also growing up near the Mexican/ United States border, Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia paints long strips of paper that he painstakingly weaves together to create large-scale works that entwine artistic techniques and disparate ideas of popular tradition with contemporary aesthetics, of art with craft, and of the artist’s roots with his current life. As a stunning centerpiece to the exhibition, Marela Zacarias presents a monumentally scaled white monochrome sculpture that appears to cascade down the gallery wall that mimics the appearance of fabric and highlights the significance of draping to textiles and to art history.
Additional support for this exhibition provided by the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York.
The 3,000 square-foot Gallery in BRIC House has soaring 18-foot ceilings that permit major exhibitions focusing on emerging and mid-career artists and curators.
Women Directors: Sharing Immigrant Experiences Through Film - Artist Marela Zacarías
Event: Thursday May 5, 2016
New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) presents Women Directors: Sharing Immigrant Experiences Through Film — a five-part screening series of work by women filmmakers focusing on the immigrant experience in New York. This five-month long series showcases a themed exhibition of short and feature-length films.
The third installment of the series is an evening with local immigrant artist Marela Zacarías featuring three short films about her life and work from the Art 21 series New York Close Up. A conversation with Zacarías and filmmaker Ava Wiland follows the screening.
A reception with Mexican food and margaritas rounds out the evening.
DATE: Thursday, May 5th, 2016
TIME: 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Maspeth Town Hall, 5337 72nd St. Maspeth, NY 11378
RSVP in advance to reserve seats.
Taking Over Space: Exploring Three-Dimensional Paintings by Marela Zacarias
Tuesday, July 7, 2015 at 12:10pm
Visual artist Marela Zacarias will discuss her work, which combines painting and sculpture, and is characterized by an interest in site specificity, the history contained in objects, and current events. Ms. Zacarias' wall and free-standing sculptures are constructed from window screens and joint compound, and painted with original patterns and geometric, abstract shapes.
Most recently, Ms. Zacarias completed a 58' x 11' permanent sculptural installation for the new American Consulate in Monterrey, Mexico. She had her first solo show at the Brooklyn Museum as part of the Raw/Cooked series in February 2013. She was part of El Museo del Barrio's S-Files Biennial in 2011, and the Hunter M.F.A. show at the Times Square Gallery in 2012, in addition to many group shows in galleries in New York City and Brooklyn.
A longtime resident of Brooklyn, Ms. Zacarias was born in Mexico City. In 2012, she was the first Artist in Residence at El Instituto, the Insitute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies at the University of Connecticut. She is a graduate of Kenyon College, and received an M.F.A. in Painting from Hunter College. She has taught mural art in Washington, D.C., Connecticut, and Mexico City.