FIRST, THANK YOU for clicking the link and reading this first sentence. Now look up from your smartphone or shift your gaze away from laptop screen. Is there a window in the space where you are seated? Take a moment to look at, and then through, the window. What do you see? Is there potential for respite from the confines of your room, or the portent of something dangerous that is best viewed from behind the glass?
In the months leading up to the pandemic, Mexico City-born, Houston-based artist Veronica Ibargüengoitia found herself fascinated by the composition and poetry of windows, and the ways she might reimagine their utilitarian construction. As it became clear none of us were going to be getting out anytime soon, Ibargüengoitia asked friends and fellow artists around the world to send her photos of a window in their home, office or other environment. "It was a way of connecting me to them and to their space," says Ibargüengoitia, who ended up with nearly 600 photos.
"Window #31" by Veronica Ibarguengoitia
"Portal" by Veronica Ibarguengoitia
Her new show, Fractured Light, on view Feb. 13 through March 27 at Anya Tish Gallery, is a collection of paintings inspired by those photographs, each work a transformation of what was a simple window into something mysterious, yet strangely familiar. Drawing on her background in industrial design, Ibargüengoitia's windows — especially the three-dimensional realizations, in which the canvas is wrapped around shaped birchwood — compel the viewer to move around and engage each painting or object from multiple perspectives, and perhaps imagine themselves stepping into the painting and another world. The show is also a timely reminder of how reaching out to a trusted network of friends can inspire a whole new body of work.
"What keeps me motivated is interacting with a community," says Ibargüengoitia when asked about burn-out in the age of social distancing. "Painting can be very lonely. I would say keep in touch with the people you love. Keep in touch with your art community, they are the ones that will support you. I think I have been more in touch with friends that are overseas than ever before, and I love it."