HAVE YOU EVER stood in front of a piece of art and wanted to melt into it and be engulfed by it?
Okay, maybe that’s just me, but it’s how I feel about the large-format photographs created by Peruvian artist Cecilia Paredes. One in particular, “The Secret,” has a field of lush but offbeat green accented by golden damask-style swags and flourishes; to me, it offers comfort as well as a striking visual experience.
Paredes’s photos are in fact a record of her performance art, the performance being that she paints herself, clothing and body, to disappear, or almost disappear, into the patterns of fabrics hung behind her. In some works she is quite apparent; in others, a second or third glance is needed to “discover” her, camouflaged inside the image.
Paredes, who is better known in Europe than in the US, is currently a Visiting Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work is in New York for the inaugural exhibition of the new Ruiz-Healy Gallery, housed in a charming Upper East Side brownstone. The gallery is an extension of the San Antonio gallery that concentrates on contemporary Latin American art. Paredes’s show, in which her art is paired with that of the late San Antonio-based Chuck Ramirez, is open through the end of July 2019.
And, coincidentally but fittingly, “paredes” is Spanish for “walls.” If I could afford five-figure wall treatments I’d probably give her every wall in my home. If there were ever a piece of art I would love to design a room around, this is it.
“Cecilia Paredes & Chuck Ramirez: Photographing Identity,” Ruiz-Healy Art, 74 East 79th Street, 2D, New York, NY; ruizhealyart.com; 212-510-7873. Open Tuesday through Saturday 11am to 6pm and by appointment. Through the end of July 2019.