Muicle: materials taxonomies in Abya Yala

By Araceli Gómez Castro

38 1/8 by 72 inches

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Abya Yala means “Mature Earth”, “Alive Earth” or “Blossoming Earth”.

The exploration of ancestral techniques is juxtaposed with joyful approaches to singular identities in the work of Araceli Gómez Castro, and her solo exhibition “Muicle: materials taxonomies in Abya Yala”.

Abya Yala is a term commonly used in academia and in different indigenous communities to name the American continent and it could be translated as “Mature Earth”, “Alive Earth” or “Blossoming Earth”. It is a term using positive opposing from a decolonial approach, as suggested by Raimond Williams (1976).

The juxtaposition of time, geography and materials leads us to a conversation about the object as a subject, where rituals and memory highlight the sophistication of simplicity, the communication skills and the culture of material.

Mint Gallery Araceli Gómez Castro

Mexico City
27 ⅞ W X 32 6/8 H

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Dragon blood

Mexico City
42 W X 62 H

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Materials regain a special sense in this exhibition. From the ancestral and non laboratory based use of materials, as botanical pigments; to the taxonomies and its way of organizing, naming and labelling the materials, Gómez Castro advocates for a political practice of care and empathy that resonates in a mindful way within an environmentally responsable art production. 

The exhibition, curated by Marta Gualda, has brought together a diverse selection of art, ceramics and furniture that span geographies and periods. Nineteen process-based dye paintings by Araceli Gómez Castro in 19th century  frames are placed alongside an antique 18th century bench originally used in a Monastery in the South of Spain. In addition there are thirteen ceramic pots “tinajas” from Spain from the 17th to the 19th century and four ancient water pipe lines. The exhibition evokes the slow manufacturing and the intimate reflexion that remain in time over centuries and traditions. Domestic objects and discarded materials are revalued as porters of life for the future. 

Pigments are made by fourteen process-based dyes created from Muicle, achiotl, avocado seed, eucalyptus, curcuma longa, tejotlate, cochinilla, corteza Sagrada, cuapascle moss, pericón, among others. The canvases are 100% organic cotton, hand-spun and hand-woven fabric from Oaxaca. The textiles are made by a community that has ancestral knowledge of textile making. 

The degree of intervention in the extraction of plant tones endowed a great symbolic force, including a performative act (performance) in its origin, absenting the function of being merely decorative, imposing the auto-ethnographic dominance of the artist committed from her childhood.

Castro’s paintings posses an innate value thanks to the highly complex technique of color extraction. This creates an interest that is situated above what corresponds to drawing, color, abstract form or composition. So we could speak of pure Informalism in its style, where the material and the gesture, the chance and improvisation, and a strong ideological base related to the existentialism corresponds to the work of Araceli Gómez Castro. 

“I have a deep commitment to White Magic and its potential for a contemporary art practice that is very much engaged with community, care and empathy. We may be in a world of Magic, in which “self” and “everything else” is the same thing. Therefore, White Magic is a realization system that, among other things, allows us to renew bonds within ourselves and everything else. That act —which we understand as a ritual— of asking for help/revelations to expand/encourage our identities.” 

-Araceli Gómez Castro.

Corn Silk

Mexico City
11 6/8 W X 13 6/8 H

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32 ½ W X 44 ½ H

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Marta Gualda

(b. 1985) is an art and antique dealer from Spain, based in Charlotte, NC. Studied Business and History of Art at the University of Granada (Spain) and the Universities of Paderborn and Postdam (Germany). In 2010 she opened her antique business, Anticuario Gualda, in Granada Spain. In 2019 she moved to Charlotte and brought her collection and business, a curated art and artifact gallery featuring art and antiques from around the world but with a focus on Spain.

Showroom in Charlotte under appointment.




Mint Gallery Araceli Gómez Castro

Araceli Gómez Castro

(b. 1994) is an artist based in London and Mexico City. Studied BA in Fine Arts at the University of Granada (Andalusia) and Mimar Sinan Güzel Sanatlar Universitesi (Istanbul), before enrolling in MA Sculpture at the Royal College of Art (London). Enjoyed the Erasmus + Traineeship Scholarship at Spanish Contemporary Art Network (London); recent exhibitions include In Dreams Begin organised by Now Curation, at Fitzrovia Gallery (London); art residencies like Dirty Hands and Revelations II at Standpoint Gallery (London); object at Freud Museum (London). And institutional solo exhibition Mint Museum, curated by at Marta Gualda, currently in view at the Mint Museum (Charlotte, USA).

Over the last decade, collaborating with a broad range of artists, visual arts organizations, inter-local institutions, community projects, spiritual-based groups, delegations of boroughs, thematic commissions, among others. With the objective of maximizing the impact of projects with activist goals. Artist advisor or the Gallery Climate Coalition (inter-local).



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