PANORAMAS in Continuing and Recommended, Artscene
Cecilia Paredes, “Crisantemo,” photography printed on cotton/silk blend, 48 x 48”, currently on view at Salt Fine Art.
With vast migrations throughout the world of people, the subject of acclaimed Peruvian-born Cecilia Paredes’ performance photography is the vulnerability of going from a known culture into an unknown culture, and not fitting in. Paredes personally knows what that feels like, having moved from Paris to Moscow, from Costa Rica to New York City, and more. Paredes deals with this huge subject gently and from her female perspective. She paints herself into a magical background of personally selected wallpaper, damask and chintz, filled with patterns of leaves, flowers, forests and deserts. She becomes like a chameleon; her body, from head to toes, is painted in the same pattern as the fabric (the new culture) as she tries to become part of the landscape, except for an occasionally exposed toe or finger (the old culture). The process of setting up the shot demands attention to each meticulous detail and art historical references. To express the artist's lack of cultural ease, the figure sticks out from the overall pattern. The figure cannot be flattened into either its background or foreground, and it is no accident how it emerges in fragments from a sea of colorfully painted flowers. “Tutti Fruiti” is a jazzy ‘40s fabric, a blend of Bauhaus, Mondrian, New York, and boogie woogie design, with lots of flashy colors, particularly reds. The pattern fills the entire composition – background and floor on which stands a pair of feet coming out of a pleated paper skirt in the same pattern. Paredes shows metaphorically, in a most poetic way, that entering and even tentatively becoming part of a strange new world can be beautiful and tantalizing, but also extremely difficult (Salt Fine Art, Orange County).