In a time of accelerated change, three politically-active, multicultural artists turn to performance and protest to attain cathartic, shamanistic-inspired healing. Unapologetically deploying sexuality and beauty, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Ana Teresa Fernández, and Dorothea Tanning lure passerbys into their visual worlds only to reveal their socially just worldviews to which, at once, the onlooker stands mesmerized.
For EXPO Chicago 2018, Gallery Wendi Norris proposes a trinity of monumental and singular works from each of these interdisciplinary artist’s oeuvres, spanning across distinct media. María Magdalena Campos-Pons will present, El Mensajero, a twelve part composition of rare large-scale Polaroids, altogether measuring roughly eight square feet. She speaks to the diasporic nature of her Afro-cuban heritage and Chinese ancestry by evoking strong mythological imagery of cranes, endemic to Cuba and inspired by the Japanese legend, Thousand Origami Cranes. Deploying a self-coined “baroque-minimalism” with ornate detail set in a rigorous structure, there underlies an investigation of the untold narrative of the slave trade’s effect on her ancestry. In this work, the artist combines equal parts performance, sculpture, classical painting, and photography. Robed in a personally designed costume, she likewise stages these self-framing photographs.
Having exhibited in museums alongside Ana Mendieta, Ana Teresa Fernández similarly uses her body, performance, and the land to address issues of feminism, social justice, and migration. Fernández will include a large scale, black oil painting from her Erasure series. Meticulously painted to document her performance where she erases her body with black paint in remembrance of the 43 missing students that the Mexican government has not yet acknowledged. Following on the heels of her 2017-2018 Denver Art Museum Installation,The Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA at the Getty, and museum exhibitions curated by Ed Ruscha, this marks the artist’s Chicago debut.