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Vital Signs by Maries Mendiola

Current Exhibition 

With femininity and its strength as the central framework, Anxestral Gallery invites us to the first exhibition in Seattle of the Mexican artist Maries Mendiola, who through 26 unique pieces –all extraordinary drawings– tells us a different story in each image; stories of love, innocence, longing, pain, desire, and even violence. Stories of women powerfully viewed from the perspective of another woman, and which recreate for us in surreal symbolism the depth of the feminine image in current and diverse contexts, of women as a vital sign of our era.

We invite you to discover the symbolic universe of Maries Mendiola through her incredible drawing, and to redefine the power of the pencil as a builder of the story of our time, of our contemporaneity.


An artist statement:

On the plane, a point that marks a necessary tension. Two points already make a heartbeat, a basic rhythm for the from which the lines sprout, which, like arteries move full of energy and curiosity in a journey that describes and records an emotional moment of reality, and precisely there the watery stain that hydrates, oxygenates, accompanies, and revalues the vigorous nature of those records; the point, the line, and the stain are the “vital signs” of my work.

Investigating the “vital signs” in the formal values of drawing allows me to create metaphors of reality, sometimes friendly and bright, sometimes dark and cruel. From structural and symbolic elements I build a parallel reality to talk about the time I have lived through. The exploration of human nature through the body, mostly that of women, including girls and boys, but also that of animals, which are company, reference, and mirror, is a narrative tool of the feminine universe in its magic and power, but it is also a denunciation of the devastating and unsustainable risk of being a woman in our society.

In the infinite pleasure of creation, I conceive of dreamlike metaphorical images, where a sense of necessary responsibility towards that same society, towards that possible spectator dwells. To leave something for it. Although it is only a residue of its original reading. Something that invites you to reflect, to a thorough exploration of the image; to see just beyond what is apparent, where message, concept, and plastic qualities make it possible not to leave the viewer indifferent during a distracted and fleeting look at the vertiginous visual offerings provided by the frivolous speed of the internet. 

To get the viewer to stop these days, and to enter into the image, think, and reflect on essential and survival issues in a pleasant aesthetic experience is a subversive and almost glorious act on the part of the creator of that image. That glory is what I would like to achieve as a plastic artist.


Maries Mendiola

Born in 1963, Mexico City, Mexico.
For the Visual Arts degree she courses the career at the Arts and Design Faculty (F.A.D.), of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (U.N.A.M.). Since 1982 she exhibits her work collectively inside and outside of Mexico. Her solo exhibitions have been in Mexico City, Oaxaca and Mazatlan in Mexico. Her illustrations have been published since 1985 for various media such as Nexos, La Jornada Semanal, Masiosare, Milenio, etc. In 1994 she earned the Acquisition Award, in the graphic section at the “VI National Biennial Diego Rivera”, as well as the Illustration Award, “The Society of Newspaper Design”, in the category of “Special Works”, in 2001. She has been benefited by the FONCA’s grant (National Fund for Culture and Arts) on two occasions in the Co-investment modality, with animation and video-art projects that have been distinguished with a selection at the "European Media Art Festival", Osnabrück, Germany, an "Honorable Mention", at the "First Latin American and Caribbean Video Art Contest of the Inter-American Development Bank" and 2nd place for best animation in the "Second National Experimental Video Contest, VideoFest 2k4", in Tijuana, Mexico. Her pictorial, graphic and video-art work are part of private collections and cultural institutions: •Carrillo Gil Museum, Mexico City •Centre d'Arts Santa Mònica, Barcelona, Spain, •Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain, •Cinémathèque française, Paris, France, •Santa Rita Hall, Rome, Italy •Oaxaca Art Gallery, Oaxaca, Mexico, •Mexico House of Culture, Havana, Cuba, among others.
Since 2003 she lives in the City of Oaxaca, where her work, her graphic proposal has been enriched, developed and consolidated, thanks to contact with its rich culture and talented artistic community.