Saturday May 21, 6 - 9 pm
Freight+Volume is pleased to present Cristina de Miguel’s new solo exhibition Bad Habits, opening May 21st and running through July 3rd. This is her third exhibition with the gallery. As the title would suggest, de Miguel's new work is both an examination of, and a departure from, old habits and ways of living, as well as traditional ways of seeing and making art.
Spanish-born painter Cristina de Miguel creates her idiosyncratic paintings, at once sophisticated and disarmingly childlike, yet always steeped in humor and gesture. The paintings are captured moments, ideas, and emotions, largely concerned with the portrait and with allegory. Her non-linear and sometimes whimsical narrative quality lends itself to a spectrum of viewing. There is no absolute or singular way to view her paintings: they need to be explored and experienced. Each painting asks the viewer to discover it, engage with it, experience it, and live it. The audience is invited to fill in the blanks. De Miguel’s imagery derives from her unique life, and through paint she presents her art as a celebration, and as a viable lifestyle.
In de Miguel’s newest series, the artist explores ideas of freedom and appropriation in painting. Referencing the ‘old masters’ of art history and tradition, she creates her own versions, much like Picasso did with Manet’s iconic painting, Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe. In Picasso’s homage The Painter and his Model, he rendered his own shamelessly stereotypical remake of the title’s subject. De Miguel’s Boy Leading a Horse draws direct inspiration from Picasso’s painting of the same name, while Adam Expelled from Paradise is borrowed from the common subject matter of Renaissance masters. The artist views these derivations as opportunities to imbue them with her own wittiness and humor, while maintaining a certain degree of seriousness — via the composition and rhythm, along with the reappropriation of a masterpiece. Artists have been doing this throughout art history, and the artist views this practice more as an accepted convention in contemporary art.
For several years, the artist has been drawn to the juxtaposition of opposing formal and narrative elements in painting; the inspiration for Bad Habits conveys this sentiment in a solemn yet also humorous formal manner. This idea of ‘mischievous behavior’ — being bad, but not too bad — relates to the new versions presented by de Miguel, as well as those done by Old Masters. Through this approach, the artist seeks to step away from the formal conventions of the art market and industry, to make the subject matter more refreshing and approachable.
The characters in de Miguel’s paintings are drawn as impressions of people in social media, namely those who seemingly participate in endless days and nights of decadent leisure. The portrayal of this decadent demographic is not foreign to (often frivolous) social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, with people sharing ostentatious images of how great their lives are, and how much fun they’re having while living it. This projection of people’s status into public visibility is best connected to individuals by the selection of his or her own profile image. The role of social media between the individual and the public is what shapes the artist’s paintings for Bad Habits. Social media, checked multiple times throughout the day by De Miguel, constantly inundates the artist with images of people lounging in scenes of leisure, which leads to her development of the relationships and subjects in her paintings.
Cristina de Miguel (b. Seville, Spain 1987) creates casual, funny, mischievous paintings. The images and motifs that feature in her paintings often are borrowed from old masterpieces, social media and absurd daily scenes. She received a MFA from Pratt Institute and a BFA from the University of Seville. De Miguelwas awarded a Skowhegan residence in the summer of 2013. Her work has been reviewed in ARTINFO, NY Arts Magazine, El Correo de Andalucia, and others. Recent solo exhibitions include Absolutely Yours at Freight + Volume Gallery, Extraños en la noche intercambiando miradas at Arts + Leisure Gallery, and Nike Head at Cuchifritos Gallery. De Miguel lives and works in Brooklyn.
Please join us for the opening reception with the artist on Saturday, May 21th from 6 to 9PM. Refreshments will be served. For more information, or to order Bad Habits, the accompanying exhibition artist book, please contact Nick Lawrence at email@example.com