“My work includes intuition and perspective,” Ana Barriga says as she was opening her solo present, Say Cheese, at Carl Kostyál in London. “This occurs not solely after I’m in search of the appropriate object, which is after I’m in huntress mode, when I’m tremendous targeted on exactly figuring out and capturing the day’s prey. That’s additionally the perspective that I’ve after I’m portray.”
A colourful juggernaut of a painter’s painter who thrives in cell studio mode whereas admixing what was once termed hyperrealism and rummage-sale-inflected pop, her generative instance evokes a correction to the verse’s celebrated reprise. Put succinctly, the Spaniard’s is a spirited case of the center as a contented huntress.
Barriga’s work, which a detailed pal of hers pegged completely—alongside with their creator—as each “fairly and raffish,” start with what the artist phrases “bits of actuality that now not imply something.” By this she means plastic collectible figurines, tchotchkes, porcelain doo-dads and bits of bric-a-brac she encounters on common visits to flea markets, souks, bazaars, rastros and marchés au puces. These she “sources,” “breaks,” “paints,” “manipulates” and in any other case “transforms” into tabletop preparations, which she then pictures to make use of as leaping off factors for her celebrated oil and enamel canvases of smudged, graffitied, sprayed and in any other case altered kitsch fantasias.
Barriga’s interventions intensify and transmogrify the meanings of her irremediably secondhand, erstwhile private objects. Restaged by the painter like so many multicolored troll dolls, her objets trouvés purchase ever-novel combinatory meanings—assume hand painted tarot playing cards frequently scattered and put again collectively—whereas suggesting, amongst different referential potentialities, the honest embrace of homage and the pleather lash of ironic distancing. But there stays all through the artist’s streetwise borrowings a nod towards portray’s historical past. Image Giorgio Morandi still-lifes animated by maneki-neko cats, M&M coloured statuary and devilish putti.
“I contemplate myself a hunter, [someone] who selects one of the best objects that society has thrown out,” Barriga advised one interviewer about her magpie aesthetic and layered painterly course of. “I intervene them in a playful means, with sarcasm and irony, and this permits me to take away seriousness from vital topics similar to dying, sexuality, or faith. The way in which I manipulate these objects, the way in which I paint and canopy them with my very own designs, in addition to pointing to the way in which through which I conceive the inventive act, probably level to the way in which I conceive of life itself.”
Barriga has described her introduction to portray as an Alice In Wonderland second, a free-fall into an agujero negro maravilloso, which in English interprets into “a marvelous black gap.” By this she implies that the apply of portray offered to her youthful self equivocally as each a dare and an abyss.
The daredevil leap into the void has been Barriga’s modus operandi ever since. It has led to an abundance of gallery and museum exhibitions in cities like Madrid, Paris, New York, London and Seoul, and to a number of current reputation-enhancing tasks. Amongst these are a virtually fifty-foot work she painted for the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo (From Animals to Gods, 2019), a number of out of doors murals she made for various foundations in Valencia, Madrid and Roubaix (she gifted this final metropolis a stylized siren and three smiling cats which she fittingly titled A World For You, 2021), and an eight-foot sculpture of a splayed feline (Laki Cat, 2020) for which she cannibalized her personal ludic 2D imagery (notably, she self-financed the XL freestanding object earlier than it was efficiently editioned by a Hong Kong multiples firm). As a result of Barriga’s Chesire blithely exposes its viscera—a four-leaf clover represents its lungs, an elephant its liver, and a rainbow its snaking intestines—the determine reads alternately toy-like and grimly anatomic. Assume Takashi Murakami and Nikki de St. Phalle channeled by SalvadorDali’s grotesque Gentle Development with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil Warfare) (1936).
Arguably, what Barriga does is return “life” to the essential conception of the still-life in our personal age of mass manufacturing and profligate disposability. Not in contrast to her predecessors Juan Sánchez Cotán, Jean Simeón Chardin and the aforementioned Morandi, the Jerez native assembles—some would possibly even say hoards—sign supplies to characterize each the society through which she thrives and a worldview that, for all its celebrations of gimcrack, teems with vital irony, even satire.
In so doing, Barriga arrives at her personal model of an upcycled, twenty first century, luminous baroque—a mode that casts her within the everlasting function of glad huntress, and the world’s legions of humble cast-offs as joyous prey. Few portray tasks seem as radiantly cheerful or as powerfully allegorical right this moment. —Christian Viveros-Fauné