by Marela Zacarías
Follow Mondays with Marela on Instagram, every Monday at 12PST.
Open Studio*: September 1 – October 14 (the artist is actively working in the studio during this time)
Thursday-Saturday, 12-4pm & by appointment
*masks required; no groups over 5
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 15
Exhibition Period: October 16 – December 12
In Inside Out, Brooklyn- and Mexico City-based artist Marela Zacarías returns to the origins of her creative practice: mural painting. Zacarías encases the studio’s perimeter walls in monumental, floor-to-ceiling murals. In the center lies a wooden-framed pyramid inspired by the emblematic Temple of the Feathered Serpent in Xochicalco, a Meso-American archeological site close to Zacarías’ family home in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
Zacarías’ pyramid comprises wooden frames sheathed in wire mesh, the same structural elements of the plaster sculptures that have defined her practice over the last decade. Leaving the foundation exposed and without plaster she creates a shifting transparency on the pyramid’s surface that slowly reveals a suspended figurative object within its walls. Alluding to the temple’s past inhabitants and ceremonial rites, this figure is one of Zacarías’ plaster sculptures, titled Cihuacoatl after the mythological Aztec goddess known for providing women with strength during childbirth. The exhibition’s murals are directly influenced by the iconography of the relief carvings and architectural features of the actual temple. Constructed in 700 – 900 CE—after the disbanding and resettlement of many of the region’s indigenous empires—these features are representative of the overlapping cultural influences that comprise Xochicalco. Here the temple served as a space for leaders to gather and make confluent decisions for their newly unified civilization, as expressed through its external carvings.
Finding herself unexpectedly residing in her family’s home in Cuernavaca amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Zacarías turned inward to reflect on the societal and political unrest facing our present world. Amidst this contemplation, the temple rose as a symbol of regeneration and of a new structure, a new future, reconstructed by many people pulling together. Like much of her work, Zacarías’ conceptual inspirations root this exhibition in her cultural identity and mythology. In Inside Out, she considers tales of past civilizations and reimagines them to provide a narrative for how to overcome our modern-day challenges.