Horacio Quiroz Presents “Polarities” a solo exhibition
For this interview, we sat down with contemporary artist Horacio Quiroz. We wanted to touch on his first solo show in America (Located at Booth Gallery NYC) and what his process was like to bring these works to life. He is based in Mexico City and began his art carrier back in 2013 after working for several years in advertising. Experimenting with various self-taught techniques of pictorial representation, formats, and themes, he has defined is own vision and identity as an artist. The subjects in his paintings are often distorted and deformed, at times it can be off-putting and at other times quite beautiful. His works focus on the polarities of life and ourselves. Forcing the viewer to look inward and face the two sides of one’s self, the good and the bad, and the love and hate that lies in all of us.
– Why did you name the show “Polarities” and what does it mean to you?
Because the show is an exploration of the concept of polarity inspired by the hermetic philosophical writings and teachings of the Kybalion, Carl Jung and the Tao.
Everything around us has a dual manifestation. We have day and night; good and evil; feminine and masculine, love and fear, etc. This is so obvious that it is taken for granted. Consequently everything, absolutely everything that exists, has to be composed of the duality of these opposites. In my work these apparently discordant forces are expressed in the flesh as a single dynamic unity.
I use the human body as a tool to represent movement and change in the face of the polarization of both our individual and social reality. My art embodies mutant concepts through the depiction of impossible anatomies, x-rays of those experiences that force us to evolve as individuals.
It is through our physical being and its interaction with the social body that humanity experiences itself. Through the body we learn to “be human” since we are constituted as beings by our polarity; the flesh, the visible and the tangible in opposition to the spirit, the invisible and the intangible.
– I noticed on each canvas you can see writings and doodles on the sides of each work. Do these writings play a bigger part in the meaning behind the work itself?
Yes, it seems to me that the decoration of the canvases brings the painting out of its bidimensionality, and on the other hand it complements the message of the same pictorial piece, generating a different approach and generating new questions.
– Your style is completely unique and original and has captivated us for years. When did you first begin to paint your portraits in this manner and why?
During the creation process I don’t think of them as portraits, but the final results would suggest they are. I believe the individuals that take shape in my paintings are rather personalities, since they are created from various references, photographs, drawings or sketches, until they acquire their final shape on canvas.
My style simply came about, it wasn’t conceptualized. I can’t give you some rational explanation of how it emerged. What I can tell you, is that when I began my career as a painter I was weighed down by years of frustration and career dissatisfaction. So when I decided to change my profession and dedicate myself to art, painting functioned as a catharsis representing the internal exploration of my psychological processes.
– When you began work on this show what was your creative process like?
When I started working, I had no idea where the project was headed, it was through the daily work that the concept and the body of work were integrated. All ideas emerged through the progress, I am not a person who can plan the work punctually, but I prefer to follow the creative flow and make decisions little by little as they are required.
– What are some of the reactions you get from people when they see the works for the first time?
There is everything from people who take it with a sense of humor, to people who are afraid of it. Many times I hear people say I love it but I would never put it in my house. I think my work is either you hate it or love it, there are no in between.
– You installed a huge installation of sketches, poems, and paintings for this show. Where you happy with the outcome of this installation? Do these pieces mean just as much to you like the works on canvas and how do you approach creating them as compared to creating larger traditional pieces?
The intention of doing this type of installation is to share the background and the creative process of working with people. It is to take a wall of the studio to the gallery and show how the ideas are accumulated organically on the wall. The pieces that make up this installation are from sketches, graphic notes, inspiration phrases, or drawings conceived as such.
– This is your first solo show for the United States. Do you have plans for other shows in the US at the moment?
Not for right now.
– What are some of your inspiration when it comes to art?
I like to see what my colleagues do in Mexico and in other parts of the world, I love the work of contemporary photographers.
– How was the transition from a normal 9 to 5 advertising job to art? What are some of the obstacles that you had to overcome?
Although being a painter was something I greatly desired, the fear I felt was proportional to my love for doing it. The process was not unlike coming out of the closet, but this time as an artist. I didn’t know what it would be until I was able to actually experience it. Before that it was nothing more than a vague idealization, a world unknown and undiscovered, somewhere completely cut off from ads and ad agencies.
I built a small studio in my house and locked myself in there to teach myself to paint. This forced me to realize that I needed to rethink what I wanted from my life, where I wanted to direct it and what kind of person I wanted to be. I also realized how closely linked my personal life was to my professional work.
Via psychological therapy and introspection, I have sorted through many personal issues, nothing out of the ordinary, existential problems we all have. The painting also emerged as part of that cathartic process and, just as I did as a child, I took refuge in my drawings to make sense of my existence. Painting now began to function similarly, helping me let go of frustration, fear, and anger.
Accepting that I was petrified with fear was key to moving forward. In the same way I realized that when you act with love, doors open.
– When you first began your art career how did you spread the word of your art and work your way into galleries and collectors homes?
Touching thousands of doors, sending many emails and messages to get my work seen. Talking to my friends who were in the art world. Looking for contacts at all times.
– Do you think Instagram has changed the way we consume art? Do you find Instagram to be a positive or a negative for the art community?
It is something that worries me, to be honest. Instagram has been a great tool from the beginning for the better or for the worst, I realized that people here in Mexico did not pay much attention to me, or that the people I expected support from the beginning did not show any interest. I saw that on Instagram there were people, that can give feedback and you can contact or get to whomever you want with a message. It began to open doors, in fact, the exhibition I have now, the relationship with the gallery owner began to build on Instagram. It is really cool because it is used to explore this new way of making relationships, well we are doing it everywhere, but at least in work for me it has been very interesting and it is something I did not expect. Somehow, when I gave up my previous job and had to start with this, I became half millennial. I feel like in between those two generations, between the X and the millennial because I had to renew myself in many things. Answering your question more thoroughly is something that worries me because I start to think about how much my work is affected by the participation in social networks. I question it, I put it on the table, how good it is to have this immediate feedback of your work, and you abandon what you really want to do.
– How has living in Mexico City affected your art and your view of the world?
Mexico has a very stimulating and contrasting culture, undeniably resplendent in folklore, history, food and art. However, growing up as a gay man, let me tell you that I came up against a very moralistic society, full of taboos and fears towards new forms of coexistence and expression.
– In your opinion do you feel it is harder to make a living off art in Mexico then it is in other countries such as the US and UK?
Yes, it is perception because I have never lived in the US or the UK. But I think that opening your way in Mexico or Latin America as an artist is particularly difficult because there are very few governmental and civilian support that offer a platform to do your career. In Mexico, the art market and cultural governmental institutions function as distinct entities, which hinders the growth of artists.
– When you are not creating beautiful works of art what do you do for fun or to relax?
I do yoga and sport, I am in search of new hobbies that help me to distract myself.
– Who are some of your biggest influences?
I never know what to answer that question, but I can tell you that I like Dali, Egon Schiele, Geroge Condo, El Bosco. I guess my influences are all the cumulus of images that have accompanied me since childhood until now.
For anyone living in New York City and would like to attend the show, it will be up at Booth Gallery until October 20th. So be sure to swing by and view these beautiful and captivating works in person.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.