The Uncertainty of Signs
With hybrid material use bringing into conflict modernist histories of collage, craft, textiles, design and painting, Diana Guerrero-Maciá’s work suggests a new relationship between these histories. She makes surfaces and objects that question their own classification and reference literary and scientific representations of archetypes, symbols, and signs through her interests in abstraction, representation, and semiotics. Needlework and handcrafts have a revolutionary past, frequently used as symbols of dissent in the Arts & Crafts movement; they are also a source of innovation in contemporary practices. By employing hand mechanical processes in her works, Guerrero-Maciá adds both a dialogue of material protest as well as a dismantling of art and craft hierarchies. The myriad of archetypical references her work includes, in no particular order; 15th century philosophical attempts to describe universal expansion and subsequent order, connectivity charts & maps, hyper sentimental iconography, punk rock graphics and design, Soviet propaganda, sports ephemeral & fanaticism, psychedelic & free-love memorabilia, anarchist icons, firearm targets, color wheels, and Bernini's St. Peter's stained glass window.
The Uncertainty of Signs is a body of work comprised of thirty-two pieces, all using Guerrero-Maciá’s densely researched and complex deployment of destabilized signs and signifiers. The five large textiles in the project reference archetypical textiles of war, territorial battles, pastoral, and innocence lost. Using the compositional frameworks and color forms of both punk rock and Soviet ephemera, propaganda describing war is pitted against psychedelic rock, making evident hopes and failures of past problematic "golden ages." The exhibition also features a series of twenty-six small fabric and paper collages titled "a-z" that each reference letters of the alphabetical framework of the nautical semaphore flag system and Shakespearean characters who shift in either gender or physical presence and absence. Like semaphores, each of these twenty-six pieces represents one letter of the classical Latin alphabet. Lastly, included in the exhibition, is a functionally designed set of benches titled "Let x=x," referencing the reflexive property of equality in mathematics and a Laurie Anderson song. "Let x=x" is built entirely of reclaimed old-growth pine salvaged from a reconstructed 19th century Chicago worker’s cottage.
Diana Guerrero-Maciá’s solo shows include Artpace; San Antonio, The Museum of Contemporary Art; Chicago, Bodybuilder & Sportsman, Forum for Contemporary Art; St. Louis, Tony Wight Gallery, and Traywick Contemporary; Berkeley, CA. Group shows include the Pera Museum; Istanbul, The Bronx Museum; NYC, Arena, LA, The Denver Museum of Contemporary Art, and MOCA Detroit. She has created several public art commissions for the Public Art Fund, NYC, and the Chicago Public Art Foundation. Visiting artists lectures include, University of Nevada Las Vegas Graduate School of Art, Harold Arts Residency, Burren College of Art; Ballyvaughan, Ireland, Savannah College of Art & Design, Graduate Painting Department, National Institute of Design; Ahmedabad, India & Washington University, St. Louis School of Art & Architecture. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Fiber & Material Studies Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Guerrero-Maciá earned an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, a BFA from Villanova University, and studied at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She has been awarded the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant, multiple residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Senior Residency at Oregon College of Art & Craft, and a letterpress residency at Penland School of Craft. She lives with her husband and son in Chicago.