Art at Viacom premiered their latest installment of their long running art program, new site specific work by the Mexican muralist Marela Zacarias. Zacarias, who has always been drawn to the social and communal character of murals, channeled the creative nature of Viacom and its mission to communicate messages to the rest of the world. The installation, titled Echoing Forms, consists of several intricately painted mesh based sculptures, highlighting Zacarias’ ability to blur the lines between painting and sculpture. The main lobby has both wall and floor pieces and the building’s entrance is adorned with hanging works, which float above the windows facing the heart of Times Square. Influenced by both Diego Riviera and ancient Mayan culture, Zacarias’ strong painted designs do not merely cover the structural shapes, but have a life of their own. The shapes, to me reminiscent of folded origami paper, are just as strong, and not only amplify the painted designs, but lead the viewer’s eye through the work’s beautiful flowing curvature.
Zacarias begins her artistic process by shaping and reshaping mesh, until she finds a shape and flow that interests her. She then covers this mesh with thin delicate layers of plaster, and slowly builds the surface up until it becomes a hard-strong object. This is a very private process for Zacarias and she takes this time to feel and engage with both the objects she creates as well as herself- allowing her inner emotions and instincts to run free. When Zacarias embarks upon a site-specific work as she did at Viacom, she is deeply concerned with how the work engages with the space around it, on both an architectural and historical level. The shapes of the building are equally as important as the history of the building and what the building is used for. She alsokeeps in mind who inhabits the space and who will be engaging with her works on a daily basis. It’s clear that Viacom’s energetic and creative nature exuberates in Zacarias’ work, as the shapes and colors contain a playful and positive message.
By far my favorite work of the show is The Red Wheel Barrow, a painted mesh sculpturebuilt off of a tricycle. Meant to recall a sense of freedom and childhood, the sculpture envelops the bike, almost taking the place of the child, or rather, looking like the child’s jacket, still shaped with the imprint of the child who was recently wearing it. It’s both lively and eerie, as the image stays with you long after leaving the space. Yet all of the works are refreshingly creative, uplifting, and unique. The play between historical influence and the spontaneity of the moment, artist and viewer, and painting and sculpture are a few of the many complex dynamics that Zacarias offers us in this show.
Echoing Forms will run until May 1st, 2017. The work can be seen in the entrance and lobby of Viacom, located at 1515 Broadway at 44th Street.