about the exhibition
January 27–April 17, 2005about the artist
Diana Guerrero-Maciá’s quilted, sewn, sculptural images subvert traditional notions of pure painting. The works push the medium’s boundaries by using unconventional material to investigate the linguistic and visual lives of found items. Each project begins with a visually compelling object that is flattened, framed, and classically studied from multiple perspectives. The colorful drawings and collages are shown alongside the result: large-scale patchwork abstractions based on the original but composed out of fabric.
In the images wools, felts, and corduroys combine to create creamy whites, rich expanses of color, and antiquated lettering that hint at the artist’s Cuban mother’s quilting, her father’s love of design, and her experience of the graphic sensibility of America. Referencing diverse fields such as Pop, ready-mades, folk, and advertising, the projects challenge modernist ideas of what painting can be and propose that context determines when the castoff or the commercial becomes art.
Diana Guerrero-Maciá received her MFA in painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI in 1992. Solo exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL (2003); Bodybuilder & Sportsman Gallery, Chicago, IL (2003); and the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, MO (2002). Group exhibitions include Gallery 400, University of Illinois at Chicago, IL (2003); White Columns, New York, NY (2002); and the Soap Factory, Minneapolis, MN (2000). The artist lives in Chicago, IL where she is Assistant Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
about the exhibition
“Everybody Needs a Little Cowboy,” a series of sewn “paintings,” appropriates album covers, graphics, and icons of cowboy culture to reposition Americana not often associated with fine art. Future Cowboy locates these words (in a Western-style font) within a kaleidoscopic composition of lines. The image juxtaposes ideas of a rugged, rural lifestyle with the mind-altering psychedelia of the future, elevating albums, signage, and the West to high art.
The casual beauty of a student’s discarded color wheel was the starting point for “Unravelling The Rainbow.” Guerrero-Maciá was intrigued by the combination of geometric shapes, ordered color, and homemade aesthetic. Her resulting project amplifies and refines these elements: the recovered wheel is formally presented in the gallery, as are studies and an over-sized, floor bound sculptural version. Fabricated out of leather, vinyl, cotton, and wood, the twelve movable slices represent each of the wheel’s colors. The outcome is a playful combination of sculpture, furniture, and abstract image that softens the science of painting.
“The Beautiful Game” began with a flattened child’s soccer ball. Like the color wheel, the splayed ball, with its thirty-two faces, has a physical relationship with its discipline. There are thirty-two qualifying teams in each World Cup, and the disassembled colorful ball not only rhymes with the rainbow of uniforms worn by teams, but also resembles a world map. The artist has created drawings, a collage, and five-foot tall patchwork representations of this flattened ball and another, forming a body of sewn, feminized artwork based on a masculine sport globally referred to as the beautiful game.
Diana Guerrero-Maciá proposes alternate ideas of what an image can be by making her mark with fabric, thread, graphics, and found objects—but not paint. Her projects join low-tech with high- and feminine with masculine to close the gap between the discarded and the beloved.