Divinatory Imagery in the Work of Luchita Hurtado

Riffling through the New York Times Weekend Arts section I came upon a review of a recently opened gallery show devoted to the work of painter Luchita Hurtado who died this passed August.  The show is “Luchita Hurtado: Together Forever” and runs through October 31, at the Hauser & Wirth gallery, 548 West 22nd Street,  NYC. ( hauserwirth.com.)  The paintings were immediately, shockingly familiar. (OK! maybe I’m suffering from Stripper Syndrome!)


An excerpt from the review sez:

“The nine late works that form the show’s smaller second half — most in acrylic and maybe ink on wood, linen or canvas from 2018-2020 — are relatively powerful, even though their adamantine crudeness suggests waning artistic powers. They show Hurtado, whose childbearing years stretched from 1940 to 1962, zeroing in again on her body, looking past her breasts to her raised legs, between which the crowning head of an infant is usually, barely visible. The motif is almost hieroglyphic, repeated again and again.

“’Birth’ from 2019 reverses this viewpoint. The top of Hurtado’s head appears, but some distance away, merging with a tree. She has become nature and peeks over a broad abstract curve of green and bronze yellow stripes that could symbolize a tilled field or an expanded birth canal that has produced the world. Equally affecting is the only work from 2020, also titled “Birth.” Rendered in ink and crayon on a small panel, it again reveals the same open-legged torso, but in a cloud of aqueous blue (with woodgrain adding a rippling liquidity). A hand seems to move above it, as if in ministration or blessing.”


Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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