Victoria Miro presents an exhibition of new work by María Berrío. This is the Brooklyn-based artist's first solo exhibition in the UK and her first since joining the gallery in November 2019.
Based in Brooklyn, María Berrío grew up in Colombia. Her large-scale works, which are meticulously crafted from layers of Japanese paper, often reflect on cross-cultural connections and global migration seen through the prism of her own history. The central theme of this exhibition is the quiet of catastrophe's aftermath, a solemnity that points as much towards modes of resilience and adaptation as it does to the crushing devastation of loss.
This theme takes shape through Berrío's tale of a small Colombian fishing village that has undergone a tragedy. In these large-scale works the artist explores historical memory and the grieving process through a village that maps the site of her own imagination. The scenes depict the barren homes and grieving women left behind in a catastrophe's wake. They include a new series of figures, which she calls 'the bathers'. United by a simple garment–based on one of Berrío's own dresses–they appear in moments of solemnity, acting upon or reacting to the natural and animal worlds, which sometimes introduces a surrealist note to the scene.
Berrío finds an essential synchronicity between the philosophy of surrealism–namely, André Breton's 'wild eye' and the primacy of the subjective, interior experience of the artist–and the highly personal ways in which loss is refracted through individuals and communities. In Berrío's work, the personal is never far behind her historical and political enquiries, and the exhibition will feature a large-scale painting of a garden–one of her first pieces in which the figure is absent, wholly replaced by nature–that is dedicated to the memory of Eileen, her partner's recently-deceased mother. The vibrant life of the garden scene again speaks to the persistence and strength that loss demands of the living who continue after tragedy has struck.
About the artist
María Berrío was born in Bogotá, Colombia in 1982, completed her BFA at Parsons School of Design in 2004, and her MFA at the New York School of Visual Arts. Recent institutional group exhibitions include People Get Ready at Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, NC (2018), Prospect.4 Triennial, New Orleans (2017–2018), Art on Paper Biennial, Weatherspoon Museum, Greensboro, NC (2017), CUT N MIX, El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY (2015).
Berrío's work is in permanent collections such as Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, New York, NY; Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC; Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Weatherspoon Museum of Art at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China.
Additionally, her work can also be seen in the public realm at the N subway stop at Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, where 14 of the artist's works have been translated in mosaic using a variety of media including glass, ceramic and enamel.
Press release courtesy Victoria Miro.