Tanya Aguiñiga: Swallowing Dirt

Opening: Friday, Apr 28, 2023 5 – 8 pm
Friday, Apr 28 – Jun 17, 2023

1709 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

Volume Gallery is delighted to announce Swallowing Dirt, artist, activist, and craftsperson Tanya Aguiñiga's fifth solo exhibition with the gallery opening April 28, 2023, from 5-8 pm at 1709 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60622.

Tanya Aguiñiga’s latest pieces are unconventional portraits–abstractions of the human experience. Cotton rope weavings with ceramic renditions of body parts woven into their rich surfaces represent the external and internal physical body as well as the metaphysical body. One piece cascades terracotta hands, another has ceramic internal organs, and another is long like a spine with woven pieces attached along its length like vertebrae. The portraits are a continuation of Aguiñiga’s ongoing weaving practice which is often layered with meaningful materials.

Los Angeles-based Aguiñiga was raised in Tijuana, Mexico, and crossed the border daily as a child to attend school in San Diego. This binational experience indelibly formed her perspective and continues to be an essential influence on her artistic and activist practices. 

Aguiñiga often uses heavily symbolic materials tied to her Mexican heritage. Off-loom weaving techniques and terracotta have a rich history in Mesoamerica. Her use of unglazed terracotta objects and a slurry of the red-brown material to dye sections of cotton reference this history. Either in its shaping by stone or salt from her hands operating as a glaze–the objects act as a record of her body and of their own making. Aguiñiga’s work frequently addresses the U.S./Mexico border, whether with pieces of the border wall, performances along its edge, or activism with those affected. By using clay from Mexico and the U.S., Aguiñiga addresses colonization, commodification, and ownership of land.

Tanya Aguiñiga’s ongoing investigations of identity, place, and craft are powerful and playful abstractions of her and her community’s experience.

Swallowing Dirt will be on view at Volume Gallery through June 17, 2023.