Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Sabrina Zarco at Gallery 360

Sabrina Zarco Exhibit
Chicana Goddess in the Bosque:
Walking With Ancestors 
 Opening Night 7 p.m. July 16 

        Sabrina Zarco will be back in Arkansas this July for an exhibition at Gallery 360 that will be a mixture of embroidery work on painted canvas, small art quilts stretched on canvas and large mixed media pieces.
      Ms. Zarco, who lived in Arkansas for 10 years, is a past Grand Award Winner in The Delta Exhibition, and her work has been shown in solo and group shows around the world.  Sabrina, who now lives in Pecos, New Mexico, sees herself as a “visual storyteller.”
     “I use stories and life lessons as a way to connect, preserve, and promote traditional cultural stories and often marginalized stories.
     Her work often employs traditional symbols and colors of the Chicano movement of the 70s when she was young. They include the prickly pear cactus, various forest animals real and imagined, Aztec goddesses and Mexican symbols of spirit and community.
      “I also use the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, also known as Tonatzin, Aztec goddess and leader of the indigenous and oppressed people. Civil rights and justice work is also part of my storytelling process.”  
     “In the Guardian series, which are embroidered faces on painted canvas, I use birds as symbols of freedom and looking at the big picture as you fly above situations. Flowers and butterflies represent transformation and rebirth.” 
     Justice is the theme of her 2004 Grand Award Winner, Women of Juarez, which focused on the hundreds of murdered and missing women around the border town of Juarez. 
     Sabrina’s work is currently being shown in national and international shows, as it has consistently since she began her art career in the 1990s. She had a large installation and a number of mixed media pieces in Gallery 360’s first exhibition, Dia de los Muertos, in 2012.  
      “Thank you to Gallery 360 for the opportunity to come back home. I was part of their initial show years ago and it’s one of my fondest memories of Arkansas.  
      “I lived and worked in Arkansas for a little over ten years so its like a second home filled with amazing community I call my family.”
      Opening night for the new show,  Chicana Goddess in the Bosque: Walking with the Ancestors, will be 7 p.m. July 16. 

      “Intentions for this show are to remind viewers that we are more than just our day-to-day experiences. We are a part of nature and making time to slow down and observe and listen can be a healing experience for mind, body and soul. Even if it’s on the drive to work, eating lunch outside or a walk in the woods. All of these experiences are added value to your day. Breathing clear air,
listening to the wind in the trees, watching birds or noticing a flower in bloom can shift perspective and help to release the negatives in life. Kind of like a reboot for your personal operating system and can also be lots of fun.
     “This show focuses on telling the stories of my experiences in the forest where I live. The works speak to the visions, messages, renewal and healing and joy that can come from being connected to nature. 
     “In the case of the three women images in this show, they can represent traditional Mexican and Indigenous matriarchal families where community and mentoring of women is a rite of passage. These women images can also represent three general stages: young woman, middle time in life and elderhood, which is revered in our community.”
    Sabrina fell in love with fabric as a child. While her mother and grandmother worked at their sewing machines, Sabrina would pick up scraps of fabric to make dolls and other small items.
     “When I was around 6 or 7 years old, I went to the local seamstress’ home to learn to sew. While all the other girls made beanbag frogs in shades of green, I created a cotton stuffed black velvet frog with red and white printed underbelly and red pom pom eyes. I have always been thankful and dearly loved my teacher for allowing me the space to be different. The velvet frog sits in my studio as a reminder that I have always been a nonconformist.”
     Sabrina, who has been diagnosed as autistic, said her “neurology is different.”
    “Creating in some way is a respite from the exhaustion of navigating a challenging world for me because of my neurology. The creative process is essential for my well-being. 
     “I have explored different kinds of visual work over the years: beading, collage, clay, mosaics, embroidery, painting, printing, surface design, and recycling and repurposing materials. I found that I could use many of these processes in my art quilt work, which is the work I return to most often. I think it might be my sensitivity to textures and working with cloth, the first thing that touches our bodies when we arrive, that is always comforting to me.”

      An “art quilt” is an original exploration of a concept rather than the handing down of a “pattern,” according to the Studio Art Quilt Association of which Sabrina is a member. 
     “It experiments with textile manipulation, color, texture and/or a diversity of mixed media. It consists predominately of fiber or a fiber-like material with one or multiple layers, which are held together with stitches or piercing of the layers. In my work I draw and add paint, embroidery, beadwork, buttons, seeds, found objects, basically anything I can attach/add to the work to further the story.” 
     Sabrina draws inspiration from her home in Pecos, which is just outside Santa Fe.  It is an old hand-made adobe home isolated on a ridge.
     “I’m surrounded by towering Ponderosa and PiƱon trees, boulders to climb, and an arroyo that, when the spring monsoon rains come, turns into a rushing creek. I can walk out my door and wander for hours and never see anyone and be reminded that we are all one with nature. I spent years as a workshop leader and community educator so this time is a great respite for me and I get to focus full time on my art.
     “My dog goes out with me on my adventures. It’s a great inspiration place and served as the primary inspiration for this show. 

     “At night I am under millions of stars and the sounds of coyotes echo in the valley. In the morning I watch sunrise over the mountains as ravens call out and rabbit, squirrels and deer move in the forest. There is always something to do and learn from the land, the trees, the rocks, and the wildlife all are a part of our history, our ancestors. The bosque, or forest, is filled with life lessons we only need to slow down, stop and listen. Some examples of reminders are to be resilient like the tree growing out from a crack in a outcropping. The determination of the creek flowing over and around boulders, and the reminder to fly above and look at the bigger picture from the ravens. And then there is the reminder of the power of the collective and community from the coyotes who travel the bosque together.”

      For more information about Sabrina, visit  She is working with Hueso Productions in Baja to have her work reproduced for sale as limited edition works, posters and cards.