The Blaffer Art Museum presents the first solo exhibition of Oakland-based artist and University of Houston alumna Maria A. Guzmán Capron, opening Friday, July 15 from 6-9 p.m.
Capron creates fantastical hybrid figures that explore converging forms of identity, culture, desire and social exchange. Her self-described “beyond-human characters” are made from vivid, often recycled fabrics and paint, which are stitched together to fashion sinuous bodies in various states of motion and repose. Often these bodies verge on abstraction as swathes of pattern and pure color are employed by Capron to represent a flopping, folding arm or billowing hairstyle. The contours of individual figures are subsequently lost, or melt into one another, suggesting an effervescent spillage of personality or emotion — whether it be joy, despair, lust or introspection.
Capron was born in Italy to Peruvian and Colombian parents, before relocating with her family to Texas as a teenager. She graduated in 2004 from the University of Houston School of Art, and this will be her first solo museum exhibition in the United States.
Capron’s multiple, simultaneous, and sometimes conflicting identities (and geographical locales) inform the artist’s life and process. The layered textiles seen in Capron’s exuberant assemblies also speak to her interest in the ways clothing can signify one’s history, class, gender and/or cultural identity. For the artist, fabrics can point to specific socioeconomic associations as well as aesthetic narratives.
Capron’s outlandish characters are meant to be seen as Brown bodies that reference her family and friends, as well as her immigrant, Latinx community. As such, the figures can be seen as actors in a quest for understanding and self-acceptance; Capron recently said, “I am a new thing and I want to signal with my textiles to other in-between people that they belong.”
Maria A. Guzmán Capron (b. 1981) currently lives and works in Oakland, CA. She received a Master of Fine Arts from California College of the Arts in 2015 and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Houston in 2004. Solo exhibitions include Shulami Nazarian, Los Angeles, CA; Texas State Galleries, San Marcos, TX; Premier Junior, San
Francisco, CA; Roll Up Project, Oakland, CA; and Guerrero Gallery San Francisco, CA. Select group exhibitions include Buffalo Institute for Contemporary Art, Buffaly, NY; NIAD Art Center, Richmond, CA; pt.2 Gallery, Oakland, CA; CULT Aimee Friberg Exhibitions, San Francisco, CA; Deli Gallery in Brooklyn, NY; and Mana Contemporary in Chicago, IL.
This exhibition is organized for the Blaffer Art Museum by Tyler Blackwell, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Associate Curator.
Major annual funding is provided by Leslie & Brad Bucher, the Stolbun Family Foundation, and the John P. McGovern Foundation. Generous support is provided by Ingrid Arneberg, Andrew & Robin Schirrmeister, and Blaffer Art Museum Advisory Board members.
The following donors sustain Blaffer Art Museum in perpetuity by giving through endowments: Cecil Amelia Blaffer von Furstenberg Endowment for Exhibitions and Programs, Jane Dale Owen Endowment in the Blaffer Art Museum, Jo and Jim Furr Exhibition Endowment in the Blaffer Art Museum, Sarah C. Morian Endowment, and the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation Blaffer Gallery Endowment.
This project is supported in part by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts. The Blaffer Art Museum is funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.