Originally from Lima, Perú, Mariel Carranza immigrated to the United States at the age of eighteen. She received her MFA from UCLA. In 2009, Carranza had an exhibition at the 24-Hour Gallery. The exhibition was curated by Kristina Faragher. The 24-Hour gallery is an offshoot of the Light Bringer Project, a non-profit art organization (located in Old Pasadena, California) dedicated to promoting art that is anything but mainstream. The concept of the gallery, itself, is rather novel. It’s an outdoor gallery, open for 24 hours at a time. The temporary space is particular suited to performance art, given the impermanence of performance.
Carranza’s works explore what happens when materials are treated as living entities and left to their own devices. For example, she will take something such as dough, throw it against a wall, and then leave it there to assume its own life. One of her most known pieces was “Corners” and “Lemon Piece”. In her performance piece, “Corners”, she confined herself within the Crazy Space Gallery for nine days. She fasted throughout this period. Moreover, she wielded the space to fit her “purified’, more alert frame of mind by altering or eliminating the corners. As with any performance art, space, performer, and audience melded together to become a cohesive part of the work.
Artist’s statement forwarded by curator Kristina Faragher:
Mariel Carranza’s Living Matter installation at the 24-Hour Gallery is a series of works on canvas that were created from liquid organic materials. One of the mediums she used to create these paintings is spinach, which is fed onto the supports and dried out to form layers of staining and pigmentation. The works were conceived as sculptures rather than paintings. The organic liquid that flows onto the canvas originally has a saturated green color. Gradually, the color undergoes changes, losing its intensity and changing color until it ages to the point when time no longer has any importance.
The series Living Matter is work in progress. Carranza is planning to continue to observe what will happen with the transformation of the organic matter. The process is akin to life, allowing the aging materials to impact and inform the work in a linear time- based continuum.
The 134” x 60” size canvases flowing from the wall onto the floor compositionally are evocative of ancient scrolls with their silent sign-like intensity of an obscure language. Other works explore color and organic matter relationship, where fixed color elements mixed with the ever-changing matter create the most unlikely forms with their volume of layered images.
In the process of creating this new body of work, Carranza surrenders to the materials, rather than manipulating them to illustrate something that they are not. Once Carranza makes a point on a purely emotional level she lets it become something else, following its natural process independently of the artist’s initial intent.
Taking her work on canvas to a level of non-interference with aging, Carranza lets go of the time limitations, leaving the natural live progression to finish the job. This process contradicts the more traditional forms of art that intend to capture and preserve the life of the object and subject. Carranza’s Living Matter embraces the idea of nature, art is taken into an absolute: the decomposition of color and physical changes of the form reference the unpredictability of life, leaving her work to various interpretations on a purely conceptual level.