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Una Dosis de Curare

By Inda Sáenz

From the first time I came across de la Hoz work in 1999, I have been struck by her extraordinary technical quality and rare humor. Each work is like a small jewel that contains the purest poison, curare. One does not know where the delight of following the fine brushstrokes ends and where the horror begins when little by little, or suddenly, we find the repulsive and the strange. Pleasure, humor and horror are mixed in Marianela's work in a delicious and terrible way. The artist resorts to a sophisticated game between image and word in which the titles of the works (which are sometimes integrated into the painting and sometimes complement the texts she writes) produce a narrative, or rather a counter-narrative., which leads us to unexpected and challenging places and associations. This is what is appreciated in Marianela's work. In an artistic milieu that is otherwise self-satisfied, we find an intelligent, sharp and at the same time exquisitely elaborated work.

The painter works in small formats, which are sometimes true miniatures with the demanding technique of egg tempera on wood, achieving a transparency and luminosity impossible to achieve in any other way.

She must use three-hair brushes and a special lens. Many of her works are composed in the form of polyptychs: two or more paintings, on frames that she herself designs.

Are we facing a surreal work? Yes and no. We are facing a work full of symbolism, like many of the best surrealist works, but we are also facing a corrosive and anti-romantic work. De la Hoz does invokes dreamy poetic associations as a place of the impossible and refuge from the world and its horrors.  Her images subscribe to incongruity, with that ambivalence that characterizes her limbo on the razor's edge between brutality and elegance, between black humor and social criticism.

In these small parcels of images-words-seeds, which are the works of Marianela de la Hoz, we can believe that for a moment we have in our hand’s jewels or incendiary bombs, or both, the fact is that we irresistibly fall into the trap.