Researching the history of women-led marches, Meza-DesPlas considers the role of the individual within a demonstration. Vast numbers of clamorous bodies in motion translate to a robust show of strength and determination; however, eventually, the individual goes home to their daily existence. When the protest is over, the pussy hats put away, signs disposed of and costumes packed up – is political activism embraced as an ongoing individual practice? Figurative artworks, with minimized or nonexistent facial features, convey the individual subsumed by the larger group. Compositionally, these feminine bodies reflect the varying tempos and pauses of a demonstration thus illustrating the visual structure of marching. Meza-DesPlas’ nude figures exude vulnerability yet defiance; furthermore, they allude to art historical images of partially nude women representing political ideology.
Hand-sewn fiber works are featured in this exhibition. Meza-DesPlas’ embroidery of hair speaks to material culture, its relationship to identity and the sociological meaning of hair. A self-taught fiber artist, she approaches the process of stitching hair from a drawing perspective. Watercolors and a new video piece round out the exhibition. Bleeding watercolors are stained and layered to create figurative forms; the textural application of color conveys fleshy blemishes. These United States, a video piece, begins with a montage: drawings emphasizing the faces of silenced women. A voice-over narration of an evocative mantra accompanies the imagery followed by three stanzas of poetry performed by the artist.
Latina artist, Rosemary Meza-DesPlas currently resides in Farmington, New Mexico. She has a MFA from Maryland Institute, College of Art (Hoffberger School of Painting) and a BFA from the University of North Texas. Her artwork has been exhibited at numerous galleries and museums throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Articles about her artwork have appeared in several publications including the Huffington Post, Interview Magazine, and Wall Street International. Meza-DesPlas parallels the themes in her visual artwork with poetry and spoken word performances. Upcoming, in 2022, her artwork will be featured in the exhibition (curated by Karen Gutfreund) Agency: Feminist Art and Power at the Museum of Sonoma County in California.
Rosemary Meza-DesPlas: Marching Across Your Lawn, The Grass is on Fire will be on view to May 16, 2021 at Amos Eno Gallery, 56 Bogart Street, Brooklyn, NY. The gallery is open from Thursday through Sunday from Noon to 6:00pm.
View and purchase from the exhibition online on Artsy.