Menu Home

Chalchiuhtlicue by Marela Zacarías

Title: Chalchiuhtlicue 
Artist: Marela Zacarías
Year: 2020
Medium: Joint compound, Wire mesh, Acrylic 
Dimensions: Approx. 50’ x 5’ x 6’ 

Description of the artwork

“I think of these sculptures as if they were made out of water because water reflects its environment and the colors around it. The five sculptures that comprise Chalchiuhtlicue, are organic canvases that have absorbed life, time and colors from their surroundings. I collected the palette for the sculptures in this series during walks in nature in and around Seattle. There are colors in these sculptures of impeccable mountain lakes, of rivers of fresh melted snow that are giving way to new growth and of the ebullient life in the forest- bright Spanish moss next to dark green leaves and red bark. There are also man-made colors in the works that are reflected by the Duwamish River as it moves across the city scape. 

Some other specific references in the works are the colors of the Olympic peninsula, a crisp sunny day in La Push, a cold foggy rainy day at Ruby Beach; the Hoh Rain Forest, The Puget Sound, and Lake Washington during many days and evenings throughout all the seasons; the Bloedel reserve in Bainbridge Island and the trail up to Surprise Lake in the Mount Rainier Area ; a sunset reflected on the water of the San Juan Islands and bioluminescent life under water.” - Marela Zacarías, from Chalchiuhtlicue’s artist statement 

Chalchiuhtlicue took 20 months to build and was constructed in a temporary studio space in Seattle. Zacarías chose to live in Washington and build Chalchiuhtlicue locally so that she could be immersed in the region’s environment. The five monumental sculptures that make up this piece are intense pops of colors that fill the metallic and glass space of the IAF with a breath of identity. 

About the artist

Marela Zacarías is an artist who creates abstract sculptures that seem to undulate, bend, and swell under an unseen force. Wire mesh makes up the skeleton of her pieces, allowing for organic, fabric-like movement. Joint compound is then applied to create a surface ready for paint. The color scheme and pattern are decided through intensive research on the location and context surrounding each piece.  

Zacarías uses abstraction as a tool to create more full and vibrant experiences for the viewer. With a history as a muralist, she has seen how representational art can dilute the story it is meant to capture. Through her colorful and geometric patterns, she attracts attention to her subject of choice, with no sacrifice to depth or her own artistic breath. In these pieces, rich with referential elements, there is also enough room for uncertainty, interpretation, and questions to brew amongst viewers. 

“I feel like abstraction really allows for the story to be filtered and to come out in a different way in which people can see it or not see it at all. It at least creates a question: What is this about?” - Marela Zacarías, for Art21 

Back to Top