By Araceli Gómez Castro
The exploration of ancestral techniques is juxtaposed with joyful approaches to singular identities in the work of “Chicomecoatl”
Gomez represents a relationship between color, the natural elements and the cardinal points by gathering the pigments through primitive means.
This body of work does not need an explanation. It can stand alone with its majestic monochromes created by natural pigments. However, the process and myth behind the creation of this body of work is extremely is enriching knowledge and deserves to be mentioned. After a number of letters, conversations, and interviews, here is the artist’s explanation of her work:
Through the time consuming methods of the color manufacturing, based in the ancient techniques of the aborigines, Gomez explored biodegradable textiles, botanicals, and imaginary elements.
This body of work consists of one central piece and seven supporting paintings. Made by fourteen process-based dyes created by pigments of achiotl, avocado seed, eucalyptus, curcuma longa, muicle, tejotlate, grana cochinilla, corteza Sagrada, cuapascle moss, pericón, among others. The canvas is 100% organic cotton hand-spun and hand-woven fabric from Oaxaca. Six of the pieces are framed in 18th century giltwood frames.
The dyes serve as symbols of the cardinal points, the gods and the elements. The degree of intervention in the extraction of plant tones is closely related to their symbolism.
Araceli Gomez Castro, opening up space from simplicity, helps us to reflect on the complexity of the elaboration of these pigments and their origins.
The works absence of decorative elements, meaning that their function is not merely decorative, emphasized that they are endowed with a great symbolic force, including a performative act (performance) in its origin. In this sense, the collection’s function is not decorative but of deep meaning.
Although the abstract spirit of antiquity was generally dominated by a magical-religious purpose as well as extraordinary plastic values, Castro’s work is projected as an outbreak of the end of these times. Work that we experience with extraordinary force, and imposing the auto-ethnographic dominance of the artist, being intimately committed from her childhood.
These works are not just solid color, it is texture as well. The materials are valued by themselves, but also accumulate 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.