The gallery is filled with a heavily sweet smell. Two walls built from brown sugar bricks funnel the visitor towards a spread of pristine white sugar poured on the floor.
Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University, Hilary Robinson writes, “The gallery space in the Mattress Factory that houses Guardarraya by María Magdalena Campos-Pons is filled with a heavily sweet smell. Two walls built from brown sugar bricks funnel the visitor towards a spread of pristine white sugar poured on the floor. This mound of white sugar is then used as a screen for a projection in which two women (one white, one Black) embrace. A bunch of flowers passes between them; they interact animatedly, hug; there are images of fruit, of the legs of a running man, and of cloth twisted like an umbilical cord. Is it necessary to know that the word guardarraya refers to a track between different plantings on a farm? Or that the sugar bricks are commonly used for making desserts in poorer Caribbean communities? No: such information simply adds specificity to the meaning that is already created by the artist, confirming and enhancing rather than supplying the only key to understanding the work.”
Curated by Alejandro De La Fuente
THE SPACE BETWEEN sugar fields, A CLEARED area among the TALL GRASS. A MARKER OF A DESTINATION. A SEPARATION LINE, A RIVER OF TEARS, A WOUND. Guardarraya A LINE WITHOUT beginning or end, A KNOT in the chest, in the throat, A SMALL PASSAGE OF TIME, THE ANNUNCIATION OF THINGS STILL TO COME. A LITTLE BLACK GIRL BETWEEN THE CANES ALONG IN FEAR. WAITING, SEARCHING FOR A PLACE. Finding a LINE.
María Magdalena Campos-Pons studied at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana and received a Masters degree from the Massachusetts College of Art. She currently lives in Boston, where she is on the faculty of the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Her work explores the intersection of art and autobiography through photography and installation, and she investigates themes of memory, matriarchy, domestic labor, race, femininity, and heritage to make her personal stories resonate. Her art is informed by her experience as a woman of African descent born in Cuba and currently living the U.S.