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Nina Tichava
Nuart Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Recommendation by Jordan Eddy


Nina Tichava, “no matter how many skies have fallen,” mixed media on panel, diptych, 60 x 60”

Continuing through July 10, 2016

Nina Tichava's mother is an artist and designer who worked for the luxury clothing company Char. The label, founded in Mexico in the late 1960's by Charlotte Blankenship de Vasquez, was known for its bright, Southwestern patterns and lavish leather handbags. Santa Fe artist Tichava brings these influences marching into her mixed media work with dazzling motion. She layers pigment, paper and resin to build compositions full of intersecting stripes and polka dots. The large works leap from their display in the gallery's expansive windows, like haute couture gowns from the 1960's that have been deconstructed and stretched onto panels.

The vintage fashion references are conspicuous, but Tichava tangoes with diverse fine art influences as well. Delicate polka dots cloud compositions à la Yayoi Kusama ("Nina is covered in freckles," notes a gallery employee), and carefully controlled strips of densely textured pigment recall the handiwork of Gerhard Richter. With so many elements at play, there are times when the artist loses control of the dance. The muddy diptych "may my heart always be open to little birds" could be a document of a bleeding animal writhing in the snow. For the most part, however, Tichava's inherited eye for design keeps everything vibrating rather than clashing. Thousands of delicate strips of paper that hover between layers of resin lend red and white circles an undeniable buoyancy in "you dance inside my chest," and neatly placed golden rivets cut a serene line across the exquisite, lace-like surface of "i want the wanting (botanical)." It's groovy and new at the same time.


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