Macho @ Customising Language (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions LACE)
Macho / 2009 soft sculpture (black felt and Stuffing)
Group exhibition curated by Idurre Alonso and Selene Preciado
Mely Barragán uses elements and images from mass media, pop art, and popular culture to address gender issues, particularly imposed feminine archetypes by our patriarchal society. She utilizes various media including collage, painting, printing and sculpture, such as in her most well-known work from 2004, La Cadena (The Chain), in which a plaster sculpture of a bride and groom multiplies in a row of eleven, but the top of the figure of the bride is gradually shaved off from sculpture to sculpture until she almost completely disappears.
This works reflects her preoccupation for the role of women in contemporary society, which publicly promotes and encourages an image of a strong, independent, woman, especially in the workforce, while the economic system is not yet balanced in terms of equal pay, fair treatment of working mothers, and in private space often traditional gender roles persist.
The use of specific materials plays a key part in Barragán´s work, for example wallpaper prints, or those traditionally associated to domestic and female use, such as sewn felt, in the case Macho, 2009. This work simultaneously alludes to the issue of machismo-defined as a strong sense of power or entitlement to dominate in males-while emphasizing the contradictions of exaggerated masculinity with the use of the material and cursive typography, both associated with female qualities.
Catalogue text for CUSTOMIZING LANGUAGE, curated by Idurre Alonso and Selene Preciado The inaugural presentation of the LACE Emerging Curator Program.