At RhizomeDC, Paulina Velázquez Solís’ Work Explores The Gross—and The Beautiful—Side of The Human Body

Link to the Washington City Paper article

The Costa Rican–Mexican artist’s show at Rhizome, “Natural Order,” is all guts—literally.

 MAY 11, 2017 11 AM
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Estudios Amorfos II, Paulina Velázquez Solís. 2014-2016.

Artworks that draw on the human body for inspiration can be gross, noble, boring, flat, inspiring, hilarious, sexual, irritating, outrageous, quiet, confusing, daunting, deflating—as varied as bodies themselves in all their shapes and sizes. For her first show in the the D.C. area, Paulina Velázquez Solís has settled on one overarching framework for the body: frustrating. Her approach is anything but.

“Boca Estómago Estómago (Mouth Stomach Stomach)” (2016), the piece that greets viewers who climb the stairs to the second-floor show at Rhizome, is a hanging soft sculpture of guts. Rendered in gold and red fabric, the piece is a double-length alimentary tract: a pair of giant ruby lips connected by a tube to a suspended soft-sac-stomach, which in turn runs by a longer arterial-looking cord to another, smaller gut. Only when the absence of intestines registers does it become clear that the piece is a metaphor for pregnancy, one stomach feeding another.

And a playful metaphor at that. The Costa Rican–Mexican artist delights in the silly reduction of something as divine as pregnancy to a gag—a bigger belly paired up with a smaller one. As an artwork, it reads like an Elizabeth Murray painting, with her cartoonish embrace of biomorphic imagery, told through the formal sculptural language of Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. Solís’ take is elemental yet defeatist: inglorious. Mouth-stomach-stomach. That’s all you get.

“Orden Natural (Natural Order)” (2017) is a bit further abstracted from the body. An installation that occupies an entire second-floor room, the piece—an interactive collaboration with sound-artist Travis Johns—features hanging pods and a screaming klaxon of a soundtrack. There’s something to do with lights and sensors installed in some of these fur-covered forms, which look like harvested Muppet organs, but however it works isn’t obvious. A sense of insensate alarm is. The piece screams unfelt crisis: cysts undiagnosed, growth undetected, failure unresolved. Yet the outcry is ultimately comical.

Rhizome, an experimental-arts venue tucked away in a funky house in Takoma, is the right place for Solís’ work. The unpretentious gallery space allows works that are museum-sized in ambition but home-grown in execution to shine. Part of the sense of frustration that surrounds Solís’ work—and it’s no knock on the artist—is that it aspires to be more. Bigger budgets, graduate assistants, gallery-scaled exhibitions look like they belong in her future. At Rhizome, though, the gesture is more than enough.

“Estudios Amorfos II (Formless Studies II)” (2014–2016) might be the highlight of Natural Order. It’s a series of Murray-esque drawings of all the body parts that are the most vexing: nodes and nodules, globules and glands. There’s a drawing of a vaginal cavity connected to a uterus via a little spiral jetty of a cervix, an amoeba-form made of boobs with lactating nipples, a mons pubis that appears to be the head of a fatty snail. This is the fun stuff. But these parts are the ones that fail us first, aren’t they? The hairy, indelicate, pleasure-centric nooks and crannies, which Solís draws in fine, serious lines that are accentuated by the tender organic rings inlaid in her wooden panels—bodies on bodies.

Conveying the deliriousness of this mammalian—what? form? drapery? meat-self?—in a tenor that is even semi-serious is a frustration, one that Solís courts intentionally. In places she does so in minimalist terms, as with “Huellas (Traces)” (2017), a process-oriented series of iterative tracings of fingerprints. (These necessarily take on a political dimension for an immigrant artist in the Trump era.) Through all of Solís’ works, her humor surfaces. Trying to square this Cartesian circle between sense and nonsense in the body is one of the truest pursuits in art. One that is gross, noble, boring, flat, inspiring…

On view through May 28 at RhizomeDC. 6950 Maple St. NW. Free. rhizomedc.org.

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Natural Order / Rhizome DC

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I am happy to share my upcoming show, with some new works, some recent work, at the awesome space Rhizome in Takoma Park neighborhood in Washington DC.

Here is the info:

Solo exhibition at Rhizome DC
Opening: Sunday, April 23rd , 4-7pm
Artist Talk, Music Perfomances by Travis Johns and Raw Silk

Open from April 23rd until May 28th 2017

Link to the event

Natural Order is the first solo exhibition by Costa Rican / Mexican artist Paulina Velázquez Solís in Washington DC. In this exhibition, notes and cues from personal experiences mix with an ongoing curiosity in the biological world, converging into shapes and variations within different subjects through media including drawings, sound installation and sculpture.

Some pieces grew from a collection of personal and observed transformations of the human/mammalian body, particularly in the changes that take place during pregnancy, postpartum and in the reproductive process in general. In other works, routine and the passage of time are registered in works like a diary of finger prints, which due to a skin condition have an inconsistent imprint, making them unreliable for identification.

Shifting the view into a microscopic perspective, a sound installation made in collaboration with sound artist Travis Johns, creates a habitable net of cell-like units that respond to their environment in a sonic inspired synapses.

Paulina Velázquez (1981, Mexico / Costa Rica). Lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland.
Velázquez is a visual artist working with diverse media such as installation, sculpture, drawing and animation. Her work has been presented in places like Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, TEOR/éTica and Instituto México in Costa Rica. And she has shown internationally at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum in Taiwan, ExTeresa Arte Actual in México City, Museo de Arte in San Salvador, Torino Contemporanea in Italy, La Casa de las Américas in Havana, Cuba, Museum of the Americas in Washington DC, UCLA Biennial in Los Ángeles, Terrault Contemporary in Baltimore, SUNY Gallery in New Paltz, New York, Mission Cultural Center, Root Division, The Lab and the Berkeley Art Museum in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as various film festivals.

In 2010 she obtained an MFA in New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institute, under a Fulbright and PEO Peace Scholarship, and in 2008 she obtained her Licenciatura in Art and Visual Communication in Printmaking from Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica.
Travis Johns Sound artist and educator, occasionally known as VSLS and/or True French. Performs largely on electronics of his own design and build, usually at very loud volumes. Runs the audio electronics company VauxFlores, among other things.

Raw Silk Alexa Richardson and Ami Dang play electroacoustic, experimental music with cello, sitar, vocals, and electronics—long-form brain massage.

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www.rhizomedc.org / 6950 Maple St NW, Washington DC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Fantasies / TEOR/ética

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Del 3 Octubre 2013 al 15 Febrero 2014, el conjunto Estudios Amorfos, estuvo expuesto en New Fantasies en TEOR/ética, en San José, Costa Rica. Una audaz curaduría de Inti Guerrero y Lina Castañeda al rededor de la sexualidad y el cuerpo. Les dejo algunas imágenes de mi pieza, y el link de la exposición para que vean los vínculos entre tan variados artistas.

Continue reading “New Fantasies / TEOR/ética”

Inteligencia Natural / arte + cambio climático

Desde mas de hace un año inicié con un nuevo proyecto desde la creación artística y la curaduría pero mas ligado a la colaboración interdisciplinaria con lo ambiental y científico como una comisión de la UICN Unión Internacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza para conceptualizar y realizar una exposición que de manera visual pudiera dar a entender las problemáticas, proyectos y retos relacionados al cambio climático en regiones de centroamérica basados en varios  proyectos Gestión del Agua para la Adaptación.

Continue reading “Inteligencia Natural / arte + cambio climático”

M+V – Festival Internacional de Performance Guatemala

Multifungi en Guatemala

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was a very active start of the year.For those not familiar with the CentralAmerican Calendar, well lets say that the year begings in March. But this year it started really early. January going south  to Panama for the Central American Bienal, February north to Guatemala. All by bus non less. The trip to Guatemala was to participate in the Festival International de Performance organized by Espacio G and took place at la Alianza Francesa. For this event  M+V Multifungi y VSLS also known as Paulina and Travis presented at the opening, we selected local vegetables and mixed natural and artificial sounds to make  what we consider one of our best sets so far in a continuation of RARO explorations.

Here some pics by our fellow artists traveler Mariela Richmond with whom I presented la Sesión Alimenticia de CanalCorporeo, another action-oriented-art-proyect, and the Video of M+V in action! Raro in Guatemala!

 

About the festival:

http://www.espaciog.org/index.html

MULTI_5     Multifungi5

Ladyz in Noyz 3

The new Ladyz in Noyz compilation, put togheter by Marlo Eggplant has just come out! And I am happy to share with you that me-Multifungi has track in it, along with other wonderful female sound artists! how cool is that?? also the design is amazing, take a look!

Also, here is the link to so you can get a copy of album http://www.corpuscallosumdistro.com/welcome.html

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Acaba de salir la nueva compilación de Ladyz in Noyz realizada por Marlo Eggplant. Y me alegra mucho participarles que Multifungi tiene un track en este álbum junto con otras maravillosas artistas sonoras! que tal!! y bueno el diseño como pueden ver esta increíble!

Y acá está el link para comprar el album y ver la lista de tracks etc http://www.corpuscallosumdistro.com/welcome.html

 

 

Open Gallery @ The Lab

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To have the full experience of Raro at Soundwave, after the performance on july 27th, we will be at The Lab in four dates with the multimedia installation on view, for you to be part of it.

Drop by on Sat/Sun 2-6pm and Tuesday and Thursday from 6-10pm. in convinient non-office hours.

Para poder tener la experiencia completa de Raro en Soundwave, después de nuestro performance el 27 de Julio, estaremos en The Lab en cuatro fechas, con la instalación multimedia abierta al público

Pase el Sabado/Domingo de 2-6pm y Martes y Jueves de 6-10pm, en convenientes no-horas de oficina.

The Lab, 2978 16th Street, San Francisco

Post-Hollow Humans

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Durante marzo Hollow Humans tomó la Alianza Francesa, creando interacciones ricas e inesperadas, parte de esto nació el compromiso de crear alternativas al coleccionismo donde el arte pueda ser accesible, adquirido, sostenible (para seguir creando) y parte de la vida cotidiana. Así tras hacer una lista de espera de gente que quería miembros de la Legión, hay una plataforma para adquirirlos en lína via paypal acá!

During March, Hollow Humans took over la Alianza Francesa, creating unexpected interactions with the public, part of this relationships fostered altertnatives to collecting art, where it can be accesible, aquirable, sustainable (so its possible to continue creating) and part of daily life. So, after making a waiting list during the show for the ones interested on members of the Legion, now theres an online/paypal plataform to collect them here!