All that’s left for me is to bark at God. – Clarice Lispector
I began working on the images one day out of anguish and ended up rescued by a depth of meaning I never really meant to touch. The resulting images are 22 x 28 inch hand-colored photogravures combining the graffiti of New Orleans with religious imagery from San Miguel in Mexico – the dueling iconographies of the two places I call home.
I have no final judgement to make on the subjects. Each expression is presented with its consolations and its cruelties. They are what they are and hopefully the viewer finds something in them that speaks to what they themselves may have experienced, needed, or felt. – Josephine Sacabo
Barking at God – Retablos Mundanos, new photographs from Josephine Sacabo, shows the artist embracing the present moment in a way radically different than in her past work. Combining retablos – Mexican devotional paintings of Catholic iconography – with graffiti from the streets of New Orleans, Sacabo achieves an alchemy that reshapes each subject into something entirely new. Martyrs, saints, even Christ himself, are tagged over and through with spray paint, stickers, and posters.
Under Sacabo’s skilled hand the resulting images are artful rather than recklessly random, with the graffiti tags framing and enhancing the figures beneath - and thus creating works that range from the melancholy and haunting to the euphoric.
Merging these two unique iconographies from her respective homes shows order descending into chaos, a theme that resonates all the more deeply with our increasingly disjointed and fragmented world.
Born in Laredo, Texas, in 1944, Josephine Sacabo was educated at Bard College in New York. Her many portfolios are visual manifestations of the written word, and she lists poets as her most important influences, including Rilke, Baudelaire, Pedro Salinas, Vincente Huidobro, Juan Rulfo, Mallarmé, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Her images transfer the viewer into a world of constructed beauty.
Over the course of Sacabo’s 40-year career, her work has been featured in over 45 gallery and museum exhibitions in the U.S., Europe and Mexico. She has been the recipient of multiple awards and is included in the permanent collections of the New Orleans Museum of Art, George Eastman House, the International Center of Photography, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and la Bibliothéque Nationale, Paris, France.