Anna Zorina Gallery is pleased to announce our first solo exhibition of work by Chilean artist Alonsa Guevara. Ceremonies will feature the artist’s latest series of paintings that depict imaginary rites performed to honor various stages of life. Each celebration is not only for an individual or a family but for native lands and harvests as well. The artist’s Ceremonies and Offerings explore acts of expressing gratitude that have no ties to a specific religion and are thus intended to be universally applicable and enlightening.
In the life-sized Ceremony portraits, unclothed bodies become one with the soil while covered with a mix of fruits, vegetables and flowers as a connection with earthly gifts. By incorporating fresh and vibrant, rotten and blemished produce, the work represents the full cycle of life, making fertility and fecundity coexist in a parallel with decay and death. The addition of memento mori, such as insects, snails and lizards hidden among the lush fruit and flesh further symbolizes the inevitable end of the life cycle.
This imagery harkens back to the still lives produced during the Dutch Golden Age, when a rich trade market intersected with the Protestant Reformation, resulting in paintings representing plentiful lush and exotic produce as a means of symbolizing religious themes in a more subversive manner. The artist therefore depicts the cyclical nature of aesthetic movements, as well.
Each Offering continues the narrative represented in a corresponding Ceremony painting. These round works depict an arrangement of fruits and vegetables in an order, not perfectly symmetrical, but organized with a radial balance clearly designed and prepared by a human. In the center rests a small lock of hair, a symbol of reverence from the person making the offering.
The paintings are presented as if they are seen from above, portraying an omniscient viewpoint of the celebration. This powerful perspective deems the viewer recipient of the rituals, a position entailed with the responsibility to evaluate the meaning behind the ambiguous religious rite and to further make the final judgment.