911 - Catalina Mejia

September 11, 2014 - October 03, 2014
Cra. 16 No. 86A-31, Bogotá, Colombia

Catalina Mejía’s “911” will open precisely on September 11th at Beatriz Esguerra Art. This exhibition features works that vaguely allude to the public references of 911: a day of disaster as well as an emergency call for help. Through these paintings and drawings Mejía returns to intimate experiences to relay profound human emotions such as despair, pain, loss, and, finally, hope. Mejía’s artistic process, begun in the 1980s, calls strongly upon gestural painting as a means to convey poetic emotions, and also upon the written word both as a means of communication and as a visual calligraphic form. Books, postcards, handwriting, and gestural atmospheric elements are all a part of the evolution of her projects.

Her 2011 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art of Bogotá, “Disasters of the Heart,” displayed only the use of the written word in a tragic, definite manner that revealed no opportunity, no second option, and no hope. Mejía’s “Looking For You” united various telephone directories into one installation, all in different languages, relaying the desperate search across barriers of language and time, for someone that will never be, nor want to be, found. Inspired by Goya’s “Disasters of War,” this museum exhibition showed drawings that were the springboard for those that will be on display at the gallery. As opposed to the importance given to the loss of the “other” in her previous drawings, where for example in “You and Me” the weight is upon the angst of separation, her most recent drawings carry titles and texts such as “You Are Fading,” “You Are Lying in My Bed,” and “The House Is Burning.”

At times delicate and at times harsh, Mejía’s newest work is the passing of a page. Her work is no longer full solely of angst, but contains traits of a renewal. This theme is relevant in her paintings as well. In one of her pieces, the human fear of solitude is translated directly onto the canvas, with the word “solitude” creeping onto the scene as if though it were encased in a stain of petroleum. In this piece gesture meets the written word and as Mejía pointedly suggests, through the poetic expressions of color, hope and light do exist in the distance.

In this exhibition Catalina Mejía proposes that there can be strength found amongst this dichotomy. Light/dark and you/me are not only opposing factions that exist solely at a standoff, worthless in their disintegration, but instead can open paths and point towards new horizons. As can be seen in a few of her paintings, the barbed wire that obstructed these paths has now begun to lose its force. “911” is an evocative exhibition that uses gesture, acrylics, graphite, color and the written word to command our attention and bring us to understand the capacity of our emotions.

A Colombian artist, Catalina Mejía has exhibited nationally and internationally at institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art of Bogotá, Museum of Modern Art La Tertulia, Hunter College Gallery, LIA Lab, Gilberto Alzate Avendaño Foundation, and the Luis Angel Arango Library. She is the recipient of various awards and is part of the collections of almost all the aforementioned institutions.

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