The “Pictopoems” by M.M.O.
By Yenny Hernández Valdés
We carry a high dose of theatricality in our lives. Every action we perform is a theatrical representation and we give credence to the character we play by accepting that fiction despite recognizing, within ourselves, its artifice. We give ourselves to that emotion besides knowing the duplicity between reality and theatricality. Samuel Weber (2014), in a deconstructive theoretical line, pointed out that indeterminacy is inherent to theatricality, as it is not only a “place of dissimulation and deception, of self-dissimulation and self-deception”; but it is the interim where “appearance and fiction” dissolve, their limits become tenuous until we are unable to determine on which side of the border we stand. Theatricality, therefore, articulates in us the social, cultural, textual and visual subject, and in it we shield ourselves to continue forward.
Cuban artist Miriannys Montes de Oca Mirabal (Matanzas, 1993) has reinterpreted in her work the duality that stirs within us, where we move from a self-recognition to an external split: drives, desires, emotions, feelings, conflicts, philosophies, beliefs, hopes, which take shape, color and poetic aura in her pieces.
In Miriannys’ career, man, with his disaffections and lyricism, constitutes the centrifugal point from which to weave, paint, poeticize, project and give life to the protagonists of her works, which expand beyond the two-dimensionality of the painting to assume performance, video projection, photography, installation or site specific as other platforms of expression.
In Miriannys’ trajectory, the relationship between different formats and manifestations is democratic and non-hierarchical, where colors become poetry at the same time that the words of a poem find their parallelism in the chromatic nuances of a canvas. It is worth remembering at this point the Romanian Jew Victor Brauner (1903-1966) painter-poet who used during his artistic life the term “pictopoems” to denominate the aesthetic products that in their very essence mixed in a harmonic way different creative poles, in this case, painting and poetry.
That is why referring to Miriannys Montes de Oca as a painter, photographer, performer or sculptor, would not really encompass the plurality of her gaze. She is an artist of languages, who explores diverse aesthetic niches from which to project her artistic path, which transits from feeling to gesture, from gesture to stroke, to installation or performance, where her poetry materializes in painting, in theatrical metaphor. Her language is lyrical, metaphorical, vivid.
She is an artist committed to her discourse, which is an ontology that she projects as a passionate statement on conflictual issues, by posing the dramas of human existence, and taking the subject as the discursive core of her passions, not to bask in the visual exercise of human morphology and corporeality, but to explore the psyche, the internal universe of the subject.
Her characters, those she recreates and those she personifies, are not the mimetic copy of human nature, but the poetic expression of a fresh reflection and, therefore, with positive motivations. It is that parallel universe that she recreates in which spatial relationships are noticed, where the real and the theatrical harmonize, sometimes contracting or tensing. The flat or smoked backgrounds gain strength thanks to these characters, arranged like a stage set in progress, like a freezing of the climax of a mise-en-scène. Even the work with the light is more theatrical than natural, focusing on key angles of the frame, giving prominence to certain characters, gestures, looks; or accentuating the drama of a particular scene.
It is not a question of attributing protagonist sense to the theatrical veil of her oil paintings and performances, above the lyricism-dramatism of her colors and shadows, since that would mean reducing to a very narrow and only visual frame what in reality is projected as pure sensoriality, as a complex conceptual act of her thought. Her strong point is in the creativity and versatility with which she assumes and faces the aesthetic fact; in giving image and body to that sensation that shakes her inside and that she manages to concretize through the artistic premises. There, where her paintbrush is agitated or her body plays multiple roles, the poetry that possesses her comes to the surface, as well as her capacity to translate into art the most intimate feelings that bubble up in her creative womb.
Miriannys Montes de Oca seeks a poetic act of faith in the subject of today, for which she offers her pictopoems from various means. Her urgency as an artist is anchored in transmitting through drawing, stain, color, body movements, sound expressions, poetry and theatricality, a work always loaded with a symbolic meaning about the subject and its internal storms.