Taymour Grahne Gallery is pleased to present Maia Cruz Palileo’s second solo show at the gallery, Dear, dear, dear, featuring new paintings, works on paper and fresco sculptures exploring notions of hybrid identity and homeland.
Lush green spears of foliage hark to tropical jungles. Hazy pink and purple skies lie low on the horizon, pregnant with potential, a raincloud threatening to break the inky sky. Figures stand in various tableaux as deft brushstrokes bring to life faces, limbs and bodies. Yet, these sparingly crafted faces conceal as much as they reveal – family portraits hovering between two worlds.
At the heart of Maia Cruz Palileo’s portraiture and landscape paintings is an interest in migration and the permeable concept of what comprises our ‘self’. She explores the mysterious state of being in-between; a hovering between past and present, belonging and desire. She draws on photographs and videos of where her family has lived, specifically Manila, Philippines, and Chicago, where she was born. Her paintings are reconstructions based on a mixture of retrospection and photographic references from her family archive. Comprising layers of thin oil paint, some areas accumulate more, creating thick, palpable textures, representing parts constantly retold. Others remain thin and transparent, reflecting information withheld, bringing to light aspects of history that remain silent, lost in the transference of migration and colonization.
In Palileo’s new works, she draws on historical photographs from the little-known Philippine-American war (1899-1902), a defining moment in the Philippines’ history as colonial ownership was transferred to America from Spain. Darker elements, including memento mori-like skulls appear, mingled with lush foliage inspired by observational sketches made during residencies in the last year in the Bronx’s Wave Hill, as well as New Orleans. They are mixed with familial oral histories learnt during visits back to Manila, a process of exploring personal history within the fabric of a broader history of Americanisation, alongside the uncovering of the history between her two home countries – through imperialism, violence and, ultimately, assimilation.
Maia Cruz Palileo (b. 1979) is a recipient of the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant, NYFA Painting Fellowship, Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Award and the Astraea Visual Arts Fund Award. She received an MFA in sculpture from Brooklyn College, City University of New York and BA in Studio Art at Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts. Maia has participated in residencies at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine, Lower East Side Print Shop, New York, Millay Colony, New York, Wave Hill, Bronx, and the Joan Mitchell Center, New Orleans. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.