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David Ebony’s Top 10 New York Gallery Shows This Winter

By David Ebony

February 7, 2017

Tamara Gonzales at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, through February 12. 

California-born, New York-based artist Tamara Gonzales finds inspiration in pre-Colombian art, and has recently been working with Peruvian weavers to create a series of medium-size colorful tapestries that pay homage to Inca and Shipibo textiles and design. Hung together in one gallery, they are among the many highlights of “Ometeotl,” whose title refers to the ancient Mesoamerican word for dual energies. The exhibition also features large-scale paintings, works on paper, and a single sculpture, Maraca más grande con plumas (Large Maraca with Feathers). This absurd and wonderful eleven-foot-tall maraca leans against the wall at the gallery entrance.

A recurring image in Gonzales’s work is a kind of blocky, stylized stick figure, which references Peruvian ayahuasca-related embroidery. The shape reappears in various incarnations in many of the playful works on paper. This type of ancient imagery and patterning was traditionally part of a spiritual and healing lexicon developed by a shaman with the help of a hallucinogenic ayahuasca drink. Gonzales updates the imagery in works like the large acrylic- and spray-paint composition, I am the Humming Bird,adopting the form for her own extensive and adventurous iconography.