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'A Lady Cut the Hem of Her Dress to Not Wake Up Her Cat' by Natalie Ochoa at Catbox Contemporary, New York

Natalie exudes a form of radical self-expression, not only as an artist but as an individual. This unique essence transports something new to the way we experience her art. There is a child-like quality that has the ability to ignite a lighthearted feeling that reconnects you back to your joy through her use of colors, graphics, shapes, and textiles. Even though there is a naive aspect to her work, she counteracts this with the use of darker elements such as words, phrases, textiles, and subjects, making her work dynamic. These opposing aspects give an insight into where the inspiration for most of Natalie’s work comes from. There is a balance between darkness and light that parallels the complexity of the human experience, which leaves a lasting impression far after you’ve seen her art because it makes you question things about life.

In her latest show, A Lady Cut the Hem of Her Dress to Not Wake Up Her Cat she recreates the way we experience a simple household item, the cat tower. The intriguing part of her work is the juxtaposition of the words and phrases she uses which inspire curiosity and deep thought, giving her work emotional depth. Her most recent works have been rooted in giving deeper meaning to common domestic items you find around the house. With this exhibit, she reinvents the cat tower. Natalie infuses irony with unusual textiles, unexpected graphics, and surprising embroidery graphics inspired by her favorite horror films. An element of humor always seems to stand out in her work, for example, the spider web graphic embroidered on the cat tower in the shape of a sink suggests the common perception of how a cat can be a witch’s sidekick. As her work is reflected by her inner world, emotion is always conveyed through her art. With this show, it was refreshing to feel a sense of laughter and lightness, especially during these uncertain times. It’s her subtle unexpected details and combination of sculpture, embroidery, and emotions that represent the values from where her work stems from.

Although it can appear playful from afar through her use of colors, there is a deeper meaning that is expressed through the concepts of her work. These ideas give insight into her beliefs of love, desire, childhood memories, and her Colombian heritage. For instance, her maternal side and deep love for her cat is clearly expressed in her recent show. An element that has deep meaning for her is embroidery. As a woman with Colombian roots, artisanal work made in fiber is part of who she is and where she comes from therefore she pays homage to her culture through utilizing this form of art in nearly all of what she creates, making it one of her signatures. Embroidery is most commonly seen in apparel, and her use of this technique brings a fresh perspective to art that has never been seen before. She goes one step further by adding text and original drawings to the embroidery to express the layers of her deep inner world. Natalie intertwines sculpture with embroidery to create a whole new dimension that expresses the bridge between her worlds of desire and past experiences. This new world is similar to that of a cartoon show that has a unique point of view that feels fun, nostalgic, and wondrous. Her art is an immersive experience that allows you to not only explore her world, it also serves as a mirror to reflect and discover more about yourself. With her shows, she gives space and permission for us to feel free to be comfortable with the idea of contradictions. Her art harmoniously coexists together regardless of their opposing ideas, there is a therapeutic feeling after experiencing the magic that Natalie creates.

— Andrea Ochoa 

13.12.20 — 10.1.21

Catbox Contemporary

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