FINDING THEIR WAYS - Artists offer us a chance to see their worlds
July 6, 2006
Robert L. Pincus, San Diego Union-Tribune

Marianela de la Hoz's tiny paintings are spooky. Hugo Crosthwaite's large-scale drawings in charcoal and pencil are akin to visions. The work of both is in "Inspiration: Mexico," on view at the David Zapf Gallery along with arresting sculptures by Irma Sofia Poeter. All three have roots in Mexico, which reveals itself in their art, though none of them lives and works there at present.

Working in egg tempera, a demanding medium, de la Hoz paints symbolic moments. A man holds a creature with a woman's head and a chicken's body. The small handwritten line at the bottom of the picture reads: "My hands caressed her with so much love that they killed her." This theme of women exploited by men recurs in her art, but she also blurs the boundary between the spiritual and the secular, as in the girl/angel with cat whiskers on her face that carries the line, "Angels wear recently shined shoes."

Religiously tinged vision enters Crosthwaite's art, too . In Del Dia, dynamically drawn figures appear to defy gravity. They exist, like the whole and fragmented figure in Mujer con Piernas Gruesas, inside of a segmented landscape of urban vignettes and words. There are pictures with no figures at all, his Planos de Tijuana, which turn the city into composit scenes, stunningly rendered.

Poeter moves across several media in dramatic fashion. She commissioned a bust of herself in stone, titled Lucha (Struggle), for which she knitted a wrestler's mask from handkerchiefs. Psychedelic Memories, true to its name, is rife with visuals and colors - a swirl of baby dresses, imagery and other effects on fabric. Wounded consists of small sweaters, layered one on top of another, with a thick gash through them where the heart would be. The most inner example example reads "boy," which is supposedly coincidental. But if that's the case, doesn't this twist of fate seem a but mystical too?