The Armory Show took us south of the border with a captivating array of works from artists engaging with their native motifs. From textiles to ceramics, these countries’ own distinct and diverse artistic languages date back to long before Spanish and Portuguese colonizers arrived in the 15th century; today, the region’s artists continue to draw on those rich cultural histories to keep the thread of ancient arts alive through a deep, nourished relationship with craft and tradition.
At this year’s show, there was a visible increase in the presence of talent from Chile to Mexico, including a significant number of indigenous artists re-engaging with their ancestral techniques and motifs through contemporary mediums. On exhibiting artist Sara Flores, C L E A R I N G Gallery Director John Utterson says the recent recognition “is richly deserved and a testament to the sophistication, rigor, and sheer show-stopping beauty of her work.” From Flores’s native Kené created with locally produced material to Seba Calfuqueo’s photographic critique of the colonization of Chile, artists are finding platforms to advocate for people long ago relegated to the sidelines of art history.
Read on to discover just a few highlights from this year’s show.
María Berrío (Colombian, b. 1982)
Mario Berrío’s large-scale paintings are filled with women in serene spaces with friendly and inviting gazes. Their beauty and intensity suggests a private spirituality.
Presented by Victoria Miro Gallery
Magali Lara (Mexican, b. 1956)
An important feminist advocate, Magali Lara finds inspiration in the relationship between nature and the human body. As part of an influential women-led movement in the 1970s with other Mexican modernists, she helped establish groups that focused on supporting female artists facing harassment within the male-dominated art world.
Presented by Galería RGR
Sara Flores (Peruvian, b. 1950)
Sara Flores, an indigenous Shipibo-Conibo artist native to the Ucayali region of the Peruvian Amazon, draws on her native art of Kené. The geometric design maps their cosmology and spirituality beliefs and grounds their beliefs through a deep respect for the environment. Kené also serve as symbolic representations of emotion and are used as a tool for expression and communication within the community.
Ana Mercedes Hoyos (Colombian, 1942-2014)
An incredibly diverse and productive artist, Ana Mercedes Hoyos transcends medium and stylistic school. Her 1978 painting Atmósfera displayed at the fair is demonstrative of her interest in a cultivated and manipulated reality. Playing with cultural tropes, she transformed Pop Art into a reflection of Columbian society.
Presented by Nueveochenta
Seba Calfuqueo (Chilean, b. 1991)
Hailing from Santiago, Chile, Seba Calfuqueo aims to disrupt social assumptions of selfhood through reconnecting with their natural environment and Mapuche heritage. Using photography, performance, sculpture, and digital art, Seba critiques the historical aggression towards indigenous gender-nonconforming artists who were erased during the colonization of Chile.
Presented by Galería Patricia Ready
Pablo Gomez Uribe (Colombian, b. 1975)
Astonished by the American culture of consumption, Pablo Gomez Uribe critiques—often in jest—the luxury living he experienced upon moving to New York City. His work Room with a View asks viewers to consider the many immigrant hands that went into building and maintaining their homes.
Presented by PROXY CO Gallery
Fabio Miguez (Brazilian, b. 1962)
Inspired by constructivism through his formal training in architecture, Fabio Miguez works with both two- and three-dimensional materials to explore the purity and form of structures.
Presented by Nara Roesler Gallery