A contemporary Philippine artist, Marina Cruz is best known for her photorealistic paintings of dresses, capturing the quality of the fabric, the folds and creases, as well as the patterns and stitches. In her hands, these subjects undergo a process of sublime composition to produce an effect similar to minimalist abstraction.
In Cruz’s works, formal qualities like shapes, colors, and texture sustain the viewer’s engagement with the image. Recalling the works of abstractionists who focused on the interaction between colors and shapes, her works are full of unexpected details such as threadbare hems or blotchy stains, completed buttons, holes, tears, and armies of seams.
The clothes that Cruz paints unfold a range of family narratives, from encountering a heap of family heirlooms to discovering the small dresses that her mother and her mother’s twin sister wore as children. Digging through these unspoken lives and histories of an earlier generation, the artist seeks to explore the valued continuum that proceeds from close family ties and to transpose the activity of one generation to the next. She sees her pieces as reflections on aging, and a way to preserve memories.
Featured Image: Marina Cruz – Artist with her whimsical doll head paintings – Image by Peter C. Marquez.