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Regional Interests

Diana Guerrero-Maciá’s Textile Work Lights Up Traywick Contemporary

In the light-filled entryway of Traywick Contemporary’s Berkeley building, the textile works in Chicago artist Diana Guerrero-Maciá’s Light Falls Fast have their own inner glow. Warm hues of sunset orange, bumblebee yellow and rosy pinks dominate each piece, whether in the form of screenprinted stripes on paper or strips of colored wool. Fringe-edged cloth rectangles of pure color checker the walls behind framed works and stretched canvases, like escaped remnants from Guerrero-Maciá’s detailed arrangements.

Light Falls Fast freely mingles abstraction and iconography, while artwork titles hint at larger issues of immigration and economic justice. The show’s opening piece, an assemblage on canvas titled Anchor Baby, depicts a figure in a blue buffalo plaid cradle. Its “head” turns into the shape of a spade, but is also covered in a quilt-like smattering of orange triangles. A small yellow circle (a personal sun?) sits, pierced with a safety pin, in the canvas’ top left corner.

That pin is a nod to a punk aesthetic (and cloth diapers), but it also calls to mind the brief period in 2016 when people wore safety pins to signal their status as allies. Light Falls Fast feels, tonally, far from the early days of the Trump presidency, but the sense of freshness and relief it captures is a direct result of both the darkness of the past four years and the more recent horror of the pandemic.

Second Shift, another large work on canvas, adopts the grid of quilting, but disrupts its own symmetry with irregular black bars. Its title, too, holds larger meaning: a second shift, usually the hours between 4 or 5pm and 1am, is the purview of the working class and the overworked. Being awake at first light, Guerrero-Maciá reminds, is not always a romantic choice.

Diana Guerrero-Maciá, ‘Closer to the Sun no.5,’ 2021; Unique silkscreen with wool, dyed canvas and cotton on paper. (Traywick Contemporary)

And yet, the beauty of sunrises and sunsets—the colors those moments produce, the sense of awe they can engender—suffuse Light Falls Fast. The show’s parting work is gleefully optimistic, a collage on screenprinted paper that automatically triggers a smile because it is, itself, smiling, with daisy eyes and a crooked, ribbon-like grin.

‘Light Falls Fast’ is on view at Traywick Contemporary (895 Colusa Ave., Berkeley) through July 24. Details here.

Copyright 2021 KQED