Praxis is pleased to present Skin Buffet, a solo exhibition by artist Josefina Concha E. The show will be open from Thursday, April 13 to Friday, June 2, 2023.

Situated around a dining table, Skin Buffet is a gathering, a textile meeting, of “special guests”: sewn fabrics, small drawings and paintings that are each inspired by strange objects, family members of the artist, or other artist’s work. They are portals and barriers between the outside and an inner world, giving access to emotions that cannot be sundered from the deep, interior layers in which they reside. In particular, the fabrics are like skin that warm and protect the flesh of the canvas on which they are woven, expelling vibrations and embodying the slow and natural movements from the environment.

Josefina Concha E. uses colorful thread and the narrow zigzag stitch of a sewing machine to create irregular weaves through which she appropriates and reimagines the material form and pictorial content of painting, craft designs, and sculptural tapestries. Although she is a textile artist who is immersed in the “traditional” labor of women, Josefina identifies as a painter and a daydreamer. Whether from her studio in Santiago, or in a forest in the south of Chile, she crafts her works from an amalgamation of dense fabric, instinct, drawings, Polaroids, memories and spinning.

Skin Buffet refers to a lexical-semantic game that alludes to those moments of relaxation, pleasure, and tension when disparate bodies gather around a table. Bodies that are dissimilar to each other, and yet, in their abundant skin, are interdependent to be served and shared when the table is ready.

(Soledad García Saavedra, curator)

Josefina Concha (b.1985) is master of textile art, who brings forward centuries of Latin American heritage through a communion with craft and nature. By using elements such as skin, hair, plants and animals as initial inspiration, she has found in the thousands of layers of woven thread the possibility of painting and drawing without relying on those mediums, and instead echoing a tradition that has been passed on through generations of women. Nature is her main source of inspiration, its resemblance to the human body, the exuberance of color and form, the vulnerability of live matter, the visual and symbolic richness of the elements, these are the subjects which inspire her body of work.

Her pieces are ethereal, complex yet harmonious woven textiles, often times reflections of the female being, spiral forms that are born naturally from the sewing machine, that contain within itself the power to continue to grow permanently: they have a beginning, but no end. The almost mesmerizing process of meticulously covering the fabric with thread is for the artist a way of being fully present, body and mind in tune. Like cultivating a garden, it is a labor that should not be rushed, that requires a method and can provide stillness for the spirit, in the manner of a mantra.

Josefina’s work longs for order, for harmony. The imperfections of manual labor that are meekly accepted, and the perpetual rebirth inherent in the spiral, are the means that allow the artist to enter into the ways of the mind and in this search for beauty.