Art Review

Art Beat

Mind Over Matter, an exhibit of recent paintings by Victoria del Carmen Perez that now occupies ILK's south gallery, may be an uneven show, but the best pieces are extremely good.

And unusual. In fact, some viewers may be put off by the materials that the Cuban-born painter uses, and one in particular: lamb's blood, which Perez buys from Superior Farms. "Those guys are so nice," she says. "I showed them what I was doing with the blood so they wouldn't think something creepy."

Perez sees the animal blood as evocative of human blood; she combines it with glitter to "offset" what she calls the "intellectual weight of the blood."

One of the most striking pieces here is "Abnormal," a series of seven oval panels encrusted with blood and glitter sealed in varnish. The blood, which is brownish red with green edges, is made iridescent by the glitter. Another knockout is "Ruined" (above), a vertically stacked triptych in which Perez foregoes the blood and instead uses resin with the expected glitter.

Many of the pieces in "Mind Over Matter" seem to concern Perez's personal struggles as a woman; you don't have to be Freud to see vaginal imagery everywhere. But on the surface, her paintings more neatly fit into the contemporary abstraction-expressionism revival. Judge for yourself before the show closes Sunday

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Michael Paglia is an art historian and writer whose columns have appeared in Westword since 1995; his essays on the visual arts have also been published in national periodicals including Art News, Architecture, Art Ltd., Modernism, Art & Auction and Sculpture Magazine. He taught art history at the University of Colorado Denver.
Contact: Michael Paglia