In her exhibition “Arada” at Guijarro de Pablo Gallery, the petate is a central object of exploration through which Maria García-Ibañez poetically exposes the beauty in the banality of everyday life. The petate is a hand–woven mat made from the leaves of a palm tree indigenous to Mexico. It is a resilient and ubiquitous object in Mexican culture that has a long list of pragmatic uses, but is commonly thrown down on the ground for a bed, and also functions as a sheath to wrap a human body for burial. The process of weaving a petate is rhythmic and methodical, requiring ritualistic patterning not typically employed in quotidian life. García-Ibañez explores this involved process within the ten works that comprise the exhibition. It is an intimate show that lends itself to truly understanding the profound time and skill involved in handcrafting an object as banal as a petate.
Four exquisitely detailed graphite drawings depict indigenous objects in the process of creation. Coracle, 2015, is a drawing of the craftsmanship involved in the process of hand-weaving a basket. However, the artist deliberately chooses to draw the basket unfinished and with its frame exposed, illustrating it in meticulous detail that exposes the tedious and demanding process. The petate as a physical object is also explored through two works in particular, both titled Petate, and both produced in 2015. The first is a graphite rubbing on paper, and the other is an impression of a petate in white concrete. Both offer a moment to look at the petate as an object of hypnotically tangible beauty.
This is what “Adrade” is: an exploration of the beautiful and the banal through physically demanding techniques that offer moments of rare material transcendence.
by Leslie Moody Castro