what am i looking at?
10 June 2021 - 28 August 2021
In “What am I looking at?” Iva Gueorguieva presents a new body of mostly black and white wall and floor tapestries and works on paper, all made during the pandemic. This year of loss and devastation pushed the artist into a space of absolutes and essentials. For her, the black line constitutes both. Gueorguieva’s delicate lines draw the contours of intertwined female bodies, animals, and bits of plant life out of the dried-up puddles of translucent black and gray pigments that generously stain the muslin and paper surfaces.
For Iva Gueorguieva, the work is both cathartic and ensnaring: “Throughout the work, female bodied figures have taken over the paintings, the drawing, … everything. They emerge from the puddles on the floor. They seem to grab my feet and my wrists. My left arm is no longer able to reach, stuck inside the joint, but I keep painting. I feel like I am merely attending to their (the women) needs, no longer in charge at all; when I go to the studio and walk around barefoot with plastic bags tied to my feet. “What am I looking at?”
Gueorguieva’s body, the painter’s body, is a site of comingling of multiple and contradictory realities, psychic and material, interior and exterior. The paintings are records of affects accumulated through what she describes as a falling in love, a spiraling movement opposite to that of death.
Painter Trenton Doyle Hancock reflects on her tapestries: “Iva’s recent works are perhaps her most spiritual and allude to a metaphysical component. That doesn’t mean that they adhere to or promote any religious ideology, but these works bare some similarities to talismanic textiles. Some of these new works are painted on upstretched canvas and hang from wooden devices. These pieces have a raw energy almost as if they were the remains of some recent kill. The works feel less like they were painted and more like the images were somehow absorbed or burned into the ground. I’m reminded of a Rorschach test or the Shroud of Turin, especially in the cases where the silhouettes of human forms seem to bleed into focus.”
The title of the show is inspired by Ross Gay’s epic poem “Be Holding”.
Iva Gueorguieva [born 1974, Sofia, Bulgaria]. Solo exhibitions include UTA Artist Space, Los Angeles; Miles McEnery gallery, New York; Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Los Angeles, CA; ACME, Los Angeles, CA; Pomona Museum of Art, Claremont, CA. Her work is included in the collections of major museums including Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA, and many others.