FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Cristina de Miguel: Absolutely Yours
June 12th – July 12th, 2014
Freight + Volume is pleased to present Absolutely Yours, our first solo exhibition by painter Cristina de Miguel. This show features the current series of De Miguel’s idiosyncratic paintings - at once sophisticated and disarmingly childlike, both formal and relaxed, and always steeped in humor and gesture. The title Absolutely Yours has the feeling of a heartfelt salutation as well as a sincere goodbye. The paintings are captured moments, ideas, and emotions, which can be seen in a similar light to a warm embrace and, at the same time, a tearful farewell. This non-linear (and sometimes ridiculous) quality of narrative in her work lends itself to an open-ended viewing. There is no absolute, no one particular way to view her paintings: they need to be explored and experienced. Each painting asks us (the viewer): discover me, engage with me, experience me, and feel me. The audience is invited to fill in the blanks. De Miguel’s imagery derives from her unique life, and through paint she presents painting as a celebration, and a viable lifestyle.
Her source material is defiantly autobiographical. Her painting Candy Saga feels like it was made on a subway platform in Chinatown. The black paint seems to be the same black paint used to paint the MTA’s large garbage receptacles (the ones that always seem to have a wet-paint sign attached). De Miguel captures this grittiness, this grim reality in a witty, mischievous, and untroubled way. The text in this painting states “Candy Saga In The Subway,” and there appears to have been a candy explosion. A little kid has thrown his skittles into the subway car, or college kids are stuffing their faces with jellybeans on the way home from a rave. Cristina distills this epic into something we can consume and be nourished from. She reminds us that our day-to-day commutes are filled with bizarre, amusing, and poignant moments.
Her painting Self-Portrait in Jeans is a portrait of an artist in love with New York City. It depicts an ironic depiction of the artist wearing an “I Heart NY” T-shirt, ripped jeans, a wristwatch, holding a dripping paintbrush, with an arrow stuck in her head. The LCD Soundsystem lyrics seem to emanate from this painting, “New York, I love you but you’re bringing me down.” The painting is chunky, greasy, and visceral, and portrays the difficulty and at times impossibility of being an artist in NYC. Of course, artists love NYC - the museums, culture, galleries, urban source material, and community of so many other artists build an environ which is difficult to match. But the reality of surviving as an artist in this city is also very tough. Being an artist in NYC is similar to living a functional life with an arrow lodged in your forehead. Everything seems to be a little more problematic. But there is no other way. Artists make art because they love making art. De Miguel makes work because she does not have the option of doing anything else. She is an artist. Painting is her life.
In the same vein as the TransAvantGarde movement of neo-expressionists in the 80’s (such as Schnabel, Clemente, Cucci and Chia) each and every De Miguel painting has a life of its own, a testament that painting is as much about paint and canvas as it is about the artist’s life itself. De Miguel focuses on the representation of inner psychological, emotional and spiritual states within these paintings. Her painting Two Bitches or Mother and Daughter display, quite simply, the portraits of two women. Both of the women are positioned in the center of the canvas; the larger one (the mother) is positioned above the smaller one (the daughter), and both are smoking. The title says it all. These two women are the same. One is larger, older, and more experienced while the other is smaller and inexperienced. This is a painting about coming of age, maturing, and turning into our parents. It pulls into question our identity, and how we define who we are and who we will become. If your mother was a bitch, are you too?
Similar to Two Bitches or Mother and Daughter is the painting Lovestory. The painting tells a story of two lovers. A notebook sketch has been torn out and adhered to the painting. It is the portrait of a lover drawn by a lover. This page is juxtaposed with painted notebook pages of a heart shaped monster, a cock drawing, a landscape painting, and little notes that only lovers understand.
De Miguel uses painting to understand life, and life to understand painting. She creates images that we all relate to, because they are universal. We all struggle, fall in love, and have parents. These paintings offer a genuine openness and transparency to being just what they are. They avoid specifics and generalizations. They create a space to reflect and laugh. They are instants caught and filtered through De Miguel’s mind. We invite you to stand in front of one of her paintings and remember a past love, or how much you love and hate NY, or the day you realized that you are exactly like your parents. The paintings express that we are all in this together, we are all human, and we all have our own experiences. De Miguel allows us to recognize that painting is a way in, and a way out - a guide to understanding life.
De Miguel was born in Seville, Spain, in 1987. There she spent most of her life. She received a BFA in painting at the University of Seville. She coursed the third year of her degree in Athens, Greece. In 2011 De Miguel moved to New York to pursue a MFA at Pratt Institute. During this time she showed her work in both group and solo shows in Spain, Athens and New York. In the summer of 2013, De Miguel attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. Her work was featured the same year in shows at Cuchifritos in the LES, and “The Decline And Fall of the Art World Part II” at Freight+Volume.
Please join us on Thursday, June 12th to celebrate De Miguel’s first solo exhibition at Freight+Volume, Absolutely Yours, from 6-9pm. Refreshments will be served. For more information or to schedule a preview of this exhibition, please contact Nick Lawrence at 917-880-7299, or firstname.lastname@example.org.