Carmen Argote: As Above, So Below
September 24 2019 – January 5 2020
For her first solo museum exhibition, Carmen Argote presented “Carmen Argote: As Above, So Below” a selection of paintings, large-scale works on paper, and a sculptural installation. The majority of these works were created during two residencies in Guadalajara, including one in the former home and studio of renowned Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco. As is typical with her practice, Argote responded to the surrounding architecture and agriculture, incorporating the varieties of plants and fruit in Orozco’s central courtyard and gardens as well as other locally sourced produce into this body of work as raw materials. The exhibition’s title, “As Above, So Below,” came from an aphorism associated with sacred geometry and tarot that construes the terrestrial world as a reflection of the celestial one. The title spoke to the transformative quality of Argote’s work, in which native plants, natural pigments, architecture, and the artist’s body interact with one another alchemically, giving rise to something else entirely.
Los Angeles–based artist Carmen Argote (b. 1981, Guadalajara, Mexico) traces, layers, and transforms diverse materials sourced from her surroundings. At the heart of her interdisciplinary practice is a continuous conversation between her own physical form and the location in which she is working—often responding to the various cultural, economic, personal, and historical narratives within a particular site. Informed by this dialogue, many of her works bare vestiges of her body’s interactions with its environment. Working with materials seeped in symbolic significance—such as coffee, pine needles, avocado, and cochineal dye—Argote’s work sheds light on the constantly shifting surface of urban landscapes and her own experience as a Mexican immigrant in the United States.
This exhibition was curated by Margot Norton, Curator.